By Bob Uphues
The owner of a now-shuttered Brookfield hydroponic gardening store, who after a raid on his home last April was charged with growing and manufacturing cannabis, was sentenced to 24 months' probation after pleading guilty to a lesser charge on Jan. 5 at a hearing before Judge Geary Kull at the Maybrook courthouse.
Shawn Odneal, 43, operated Root 66 Aquaponic Garden Shop in the 8800 block of Burlington Avenue from 2011 until April 30, 2017, when his lease expired. Odneal's landlord refused to renew the lease after police raided Odneal's home in Brookfield on April 13 and reported finding 29 cannabis plants and equipment to manufacture cannabis-based products for sale in a hidden room in his basement.
A month earlier, in March 2017, Riverside police arrested Odneal and an employee at Root 66 following an investigation that led them to conclude Odneal was selling cannabis wax out of a back room at the store.
The employee, a 51-year-old Lyons man, pleaded guilty to cannabis possession and was sentenced to two days' time served and probation.
However, Odneal agreed to attend the Cook County's State's Attorney's "drug school," an alternative to criminal prosecution, and appeared to be on his way to have the drug charges dropped.
That hope was dashed when police obtained a search warrant a month later and found the cannabis growing operation inside his Odneal's home.
Odneal arrived at his home on April 13, 2017 to find police loading evidence into their vehicles. He fled the scene but turned himself in to police about a week later.
Following the raid, the Cook County State's Attorney approved charging Odneal with three felonies related to cannabis production.