Rural Clifton man charged with pot-growing operation

Rural Clifton man charged with pot-growing operation

KEMPTON — A nine-month investigation into a marijuana-growing operation in northern Ford County has resulted in the arrest of a 60-year-old man from rural Clifton.

Ford County State's Attorney Randy Yedinak said that in October 2013, agents from the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group began an investigation into a possible cannabis grow in rural Kempton.

"Throughout the course of the investigation, approximately 1,600 cannabis plants, totaling approximately 700 pounds, were discovered and seized," Yedinak said.

On Friday, James L. Crane, 60, who listed an address in rural Clifton, was charged in Ford County Circuit Court with one count each of unlawful possession with intent to deliver more than 500 grams of cannabis, a Class X felony; unlawful possession of more than 500 grams of cannabis, a Class 1 felony; and unlawful possession of more than 200 cannabis sativa plants, a Class 1 felony.

Crane was arrested Monday and remained Tuesday in the Ford County Jail on a $200,000 bond, meaning he must post $20,000 cash to be released.

In addition to the criminal charges, Yedinak has filed a complaint seeking to forfeit Crane's interest in the 76 acres of ground used to grow the cannabis.

"This matter, too, remains pending," Yedinak said.

The most serious charge against Crane — the Class X felony — is punishable by six to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 fine.

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