DANVILLE — Local law enforcement teamed with Effingham and Edgar county authorities to make a multi-million drug bust last week.
Steve Guess, director of the Vermilion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, confirmed officers confiscated 676 pounds of marijuana in two busts on Thursday and Friday. The drugs have a street value of around $2.3 million.
Guess said the busts were the result of a year-long investigation by VMEG, which worked in coop-eration with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department to put together the case.
Six people — three from Vermilion County — were arrested in connection with the case. They are each charged in Vermilion County Circuit Court with manufacturing cannabis and possession of can-nabis.
Guess said the group was a cannabis ring responsible for growing the illegal drugs in a number of places, including Vermilion, Champaign, Effingham and Edgar counties as well as in Indiana. As many as 80 stalks of the cannabis plant were found in one location in rural Sidell.
Investigators believe the cannabis was sold as far away as Chicago.
The busts began Thursday night with a search warrant executed at an address along County Road 400E in rural Fairmount. Danville city police officers and Vermilion County Sheriff’s Department deputies helped in the bust.
Guess said the location was the main drying area for the plants. Officers found large amounts of cannabis in various stages of drying or being processed in the home, a garage and a machine shed. Also located on the property were methamphetamine manufacturing materials.
On Friday, a second bust done with the help of the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department was carried out at a property along County Road 2800N in the rural Sidell area.
Guess called the second location a storage area for the cannabis, a large amount of which was found packaged and ready to be shipped.
In addition to the marijuana, four firearms and the drugs Ecstasy and LSD were found.
This is the second large marijuana bust in Vermilion County this year. VMEG was involved in a multi-jurisdictional investigation at the beginning of March that netted three arrests and, overall, a little more than 700 pounds of marijuana grown in Mexico.
The arrests took place in a small single-story home at 512 Thompson Ave. on the north side of Hoopeston.
BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Published: September 28, 2009 08:10 pm