The State Journal-Register Springfield police take down ‘sophisticated’ pot operation


Springfield police said Tuesday hundreds of marijuana plants being grown inside an abandoned building at the intersection of Eighth Street and South Grand Avenue were primarily used to make edible marijuana products.

Police last week arrested two men in connection with the large-scale drug operation, categorized by Springfield Police Lt. Brian Oakes as the most sophisticated he’s ever seen in 20 years on the department.

Scott Foster, 31, has been charged with two counts of manufacture and/or delivery of marijuana, possession of marijuana, production of more than 200 marijuana plants and conspiracy.

Zachary Pierson, 36, faces six charges, including manufacture and/or delivery of marijuana, possession of marijuana plants, possession of marijuana, conspiracy, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and armed violence.

Both men are from Springfield and are being held at the Sangamon County Jail on $200,000 bond.

Oakes said Tuesday police have been investigating and conducting surveillance on the building since July after receiving a tip.

When police made the arrests Thursday, officers found more than 950 marijuana plants inside. The building was equipped with growing lights and a ventilation system that costs tens of thousands of dollars, Oakes said.

“It was very sophisticated,” he said. “It had timers and vented late at night so nobody would smell it because they were asleep.”