If you were driving through Orland Park on Friday night, you might have smelled a distinctly acrid odor in the air. That would have been the smell of 2,000 pot plants being set on fire.
The plants were grown in the Orland Park Forest Preserve. Over the weekend, two brothers were charged after police found them living in the forest and cultivating three cannabis fields there.
According to the Southtown Star, Mariano and Pedro Robles of Dallas, Texas had set up camp in the preserve to tend to the plants. They had even killed a fawn for food, though officials believe that someone was bringing the men supplies periodically as well.
Richard Waszak, police chief for the Cook County Forest Preserve District, explained that forest preserves can be ideal places for illicit growing operations:
"Some of our land is dense with foliage and trees. It's difficult for people to get in, and sometimes it's difficult for us to find them. ...
"They are not going to forfeit their home like if they grew it in their backyard," he said. "It's a cash crop. You have a source of land and water -- that's what you need for a cash crop."
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Robles brothers both have criminal records in the Dallas area. They were charged on Saturday with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon -- for shooting deer for food in the park -- and illegal production of cannabis.