National Drug Intelligence
Illicit drug production in the region is limited to crack cocaine conversion and small indoor and outdoor cannabis grow operations; however, some large outdoor cannabis grow sites have been established in the region by traffickers. Methamphetamine typically is not produced in the region. According to National Seizure System (NSS) data, no methamphetamine laboratories were seized in the region in 2007.
Powder cocaine is routinely converted to crack cocaine by street gang members in the Chicago HIDTA region. Because of harsh federal criminal penalties associated with trafficking crack cocaine, street gangs and independent dealers typically convert powder cocaine to crack in the vicinity of the intended market to limit exposure to law enforcement operations.
Cannabis cultivation in the region is typically limited to small indoor and outdoor grows operated by independent dealers, from which marijuana is produced for personal use or limited distribution to friends or associates. However, several large-scale outdoor cultivation sites were seized on public lands in the region in 2007. The largest such seizure included over 38,000 cannabis plants in the Crabtree Nature Preserve in Cook County. (See text box.)
In July 2007 the Cook County Forest Preserve Police and DEA announced the eradication of over 38,000 cannabis plants from several fields in the Crabtree Nature Preserve located in Cook County. Law enforcement officials discovered an irrigation system, fertilizer, camping equipment, and food near the grow sites that were operated by two Mexican immigrants. Three other grow sites discovered in the Cook County Forest Preserve earlier in 2007 yielded an additional 17,000 cannabis plants.
Source: Cook County Forest Preserve Police; Drug Enforcement
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