Chicago Indoor Garden Supply

March 1993, from Jeffrey Adam Johnson:

This story was on WBBM-TV, Channel 2, Chicago's CBS station, on this evening's 10 O'Clock News.

Starting a week ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been watching Chicago Indoor Garden Supply of Streamwood, Illinois, from a camera somewhat ineptly camouflaged as an electric transformer on a utility pole across the street. This store does 70% of its business in homebrewing suppies, and has become one of the favorite suppliers to Chicago area homebrewers.

Two homebrewers were interviewed by Channel 2 who had been followed home from the store by the Federalies, and had their homes ransacked for drugs.

When Ch.2's news truck parked in front of a nearby storefront the DEA has been using as a staging location, an "interesting" scene unfolded with a Ch.2 reporter not getting very many answers from the Feds, who tried in vain to keep their cover. (Note: Ch.2 did obscure their faces as per standard practice when showing undercover agents.) Then a swarm of Streamwood Police Dept. cars came, sirens and lights going, to try to chase away the Ch.2 news crew.

The whole slant of the story was that this was a case of the DEA going too far in "Operation Green Merchant", where they are going after stores in Suburban Chicago which they suspect are supplying marijuana growers with lights, fertilizer, etc. The presumption is that if they follow enough homebrewers and other purchasers of perfectly legal merchandize home from this store, eventually they'll find drugs in somebody's house, and then they can sieze and close the store. Since they have an officer assigned full-time to follow customers of this store home, they figure the odds are in their favor.

Channel 2 Chicago is to be complimented for broadcasting this story, and for emphasizing several times during it that homebrewing is legal. Watch for further developments - WBBM-TV generally does a good job of following up on stories of this sort.