PC Allen cannabis charges

Andrew Allen, 54, of Champaign, arraigned Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, on charges of possession of 20 to 50 cannabis plants and possession of 2,000 to 5,000 grams of cannabis.

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URBANA — A Champaign attorney is facing charges after police found more than 100 cannabis plants in his home last month.

Andrew S. Allen, 54, who listed an address in the 1800 block of Bridgestone Drive, appeared in court Tuesday on a summons issued earlier this month and was arraigned on charges of production of cannabis plants and possession of a controlled substance.

On Thursday, two more charges of possession of 20 to 50 cannabis plants and possession of 2,000 to 5,000 grams of cannabis were filed against Allen. He was told to be back in court Nov. 26.

All four felony charges stem from a court-authorized search of his home by the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force on Aug. 20.

Sgt. Dave Griffet said police had received complaints from neighbors about a lot of traffic in and out of the home, as well as a Crime Stoppers tip.

Griffet said on Aug. 20, police went to the house to talk to Allen, but he was out of town and another person answered the door. Detectives noted the strong odor of cannabis when the door opened.

“His explanation wasn’t quite clear, and he showed me some of the cannabis in the house,” said Griffet, who said what detectives smelled didn’t quite match up with what they were shown.

They stopped what they were doing, got a judge to issue a search warrant and returned later that day with it.

“There was a room inside the garage, a grow room with lights, air conditioning, an additional heater. That’s where a majority of the mature plants were,” Griffet said. “There were more plants in a grow area inside one of the closets in a bedroom.”

Griffet said detectives found about 146 plants in various stages of growth in the room in the garage and in the house. He said about 40 of them appeared to be mature plants. Police also found about 60 tablets of Adderall, a prescription medication used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The house was equipped with a video and audio surveillance system, Griffet said.

“He (Allen) had access to the cameras from where he was and knew we were there,” Griffet said.

He said Allen spoke by phone to the investigating officer, who arranged for them to meet when Allen returned to town, although that did not happen.

Griffet said that, given the amount of cannabis police found in the home, they believed he was sharing it with others.

But Jim Dedman, the Savoy attorney representing Allen, denied that he was selling cannabis. Additionally, he said his client has a prescription for the Adderall.

“I have known Andrew Allen a long time. He is not a drug dealer,” Dedman said. “He is an obsessive agriculturalist. He was thinking about getting a license to grow cannabis. It was his hobby.”

Griffet noted that even when the law changes next year, private citizens will be allowed to grow no more than five cannabis plants in their homes.

Dedman said Allen was meeting with him at the time he was supposed to meet with police, and although Dedman offered to come in with Allen, Dedman said police told him they had already forwarded their reports to the state’s attorney’s office for review.

Dedman confirmed that Allen is a personal-injury lawyer who has an office in Champaign. His website said he received his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1990. He has been licensed to practice law since November 1990.

Dedman said Allen also owns a bar in New Orleans. He asked Judge John Kennedy to modify his bond to allow him to travel there for business. Kennedy agreed to allow that.

Allen was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).