By Bob Uphues
Just a week after telling customers he'd been vindicated in court, the owner of an aquaponics garden shop in Brookfield is back in custody after police raided his home and reportedly found 29 cannabis plants growing there.
Accompanied by his attorney, Shawn M. Odneal, 42, surrendered to Brookfield police on the afternoon of April 18, less than a week after police executed a search warrant at his residence in the 4000 block of Sunnyside Avenue.
Odneal wasn't home at the time of the April 13 raid, but he drove up in the alley as officers were loading items seized as evidence into vehicles. He reportedly drove away from the scene.
Police reported recovering six large cannabis plants and 23 small cannabis plants from a hidden grow room in the basement of Odneal's residence and cannabis, paraphernalia and equipment used to manufacture cannabis-based products and cash from various rooms inside the residence.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office approved charging Odneal with three felonies, including manufacture of cannabis, unlawful use of cannabis-based product manufacturing and unlawful production of cannabis plants. Police also charged Odneal with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
Police had attempted to get permission from Odneal to search his home in mid-March after Riverside police arrested him and another man who were suspected of selling cannabis out of Odneal's Root 66 Aquaponic Garden Shop at 8863 Burlington Ave. in Brookfield. At the time, Odneal refused to give permission, so police sought a search warrant, which they obtained about a month later.
Riverside police and officers from a suburban task force raided the store on March 16, reportedly recovering cannabis wax, paraphernalia used for cannabis production and a loaded handgun. Both Odneal and a store employee, James W. Wright, 51, of Lyons, were charged with felony counts of manufacture and delivery of cannabis.
But, Odneal appeared to be on the road to having the that drug charge dropped when he waived his preliminary hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on April 10 and was sentenced to a Cook County State's Attorney's program known commonly as "drug school," an alternative to criminal prosecution for non-violent, first-time offenders.
Wright, 51, pleaded guilty on April to a lesser charge of cannabis possession and received two days' time served and probation.
In a post on the Root 66 Facebook page after the April 10 court hearing, Odneal declared his troubles at an end.
"Case closed and all charges dropped today!!! (As expected)," Odneal wrote.
Odneal also started an online GoFundMe campaign, hoping to raise $8,000, telling prospective donors the fundraising effort was because "we're being forced to move out of Brookfield and [to] clear my name of some wrongful allegations."
Odneal is scheduled to appear in Cook County bond court at the Maybrook courthouse on April 19.