IL: CPO’s recall of deer case leads to major drug bust

Rock Island, Ill. – It started out like any other day for DNR
Conservation Police Officer Tony Petreikis, who routinely looks
after the southern portion of Rock Island County and all of Mercer
County.

But within hours the 17-year CPO was being heralded for a giant
drug bust that included more than 60 marijuana plants, 3,500 grams
of pot and a small amount of cocaine. It was a reminder of the
expansive duties CPOs in Illinois fulfill.

The bust began with a hunch about an unlawful deer hunter.

“In 2009, I’d arrested a woman for hunting deer over bait,”
Petreikis said. “Knowing her husband hunted across the road from
where I’d made the arrest, and from reports of poached deer, I
decided to walk the area to see what might be going on.”

Petreikis was far from any road when he saw a house that he didn’t
know was there, and while skirting around the fence surrounding the
house, he caught the very strong scent of cannabis.

“I stopped, looked and saw a number of marijuana plants, all 6 to 8
feet tall, growing nearby. Walking closer, I saw they were all
staked and tied, so I knew they were not volunteer plants. I took
some photos and left the area trying not to be seen.”

Back at his truck, Petreikis called the Rock Island County state’s
attorney office, which referred him to the Metropolitan (drug)
Enforcement Group. MEG officers got the proper search warrant and
with Petreikis went to the property to find what all might be
there.

“There was pot and drug paraphernalia in every room of the house,”
he said. “Some looked to be for use and others for inside growing
of marijuana, including a hydroponic system.”

The occupants of the house, Dennis and Diane Reed, were charged
with three felonies each: growing, possessing and manufacturing
cannabis and subsequently convicted of those charges.

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