Chesterton Tribune


Local man sentenced to federal prison for marijuana grow op found in home

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A Chesterton man whose home in the Villages of Sand Creek police said was found full of hydroponically grown marijuana was sentenced last week to more than four years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern Distinct of Indiana said.

Alan Zimmerman, 44, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and four years of supervised release.

Zimmerman pleaded guilty to the first count in the five-count indictment: possession with intent to manufacture and distribute marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The other four counts were dismissed: manufacturing and distributing marijuana; being a felon in possession of firearms; possessing a firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act; and possessing an unregistered firearm.

The maximum sentence for the charge to which Zimmerman pleaded is 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

Also under the plea arrangement, Zimmerman agreed to forfeit his “interest” in the eight firearms found in his possession.

In July 2010, Zimmerman was taken into custody by the Porter County Drug Task Force (DTF) in a coordinated operation with the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, the Chesterton Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Cook County, Ill., Sheriff’s Police.

Recovered from Zimmerman’s home in the 1700 Summerlin Court area were 852 marijuana plants—435 of which had root systems—22.55 kilograms of marijuana, and the eight firearms.

Concurrent search warrants were executed at two other homes: one in Skokie, Ill., belonging to Zimmerman’s family, where more marijuana was recovered; the other in Berrien County, Mich., a $1.3 million estate owned by Zimmerman himself, police said at the time.

Surveillance began on Zimmerman earlier in the summer of 2010 after DTF received a tip from the Cook County HIDTA Task Force that Zimmerman was believed to be cultivating high-quality marijuana in Skokie and that he may be doing the same thing in Chesterton, police said.

Energy records were subsequently obtained for Zimmerman’s Chesterton home, indicating that while the previous owners had consumed an average of 1,200 kilowatts of electricity per month, Zimmerman was averaging 8,356 kilowatts, consistent with the energy consumption of grow lights, police said.

Zimmerman was initially charged in Porter Superior Court, then his case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.


Posted 10/15/2012