James O’Grady, commander of the Chicago Police Department‘s narcotics division, tells the Associated Press that police have never seen anything like it before, in part because Chicago’s harsh winters mean growers have a lot less time to plant, grow and harvest marijuana than their counterparts in California or Mexico.
“Somebody put a lot of thought into it,” O’Grady says. “But they probably didn’t anticipate the helicopter.”
Chicago police officer Stan Kuprianczyk, a pilot, says police helicopters flew “over it all the time,” to and from their hangar, without spotting the farm.
“We had the right altitude, the right angle, the right sunlight, and I happened to be glancing down,” says Cook County Sheriff‘s Deputy Edward Graney. He says he initially spied five plants or so through the trees before he asked Kuprianczyk to circle around for a closer look.
“We just happened to be right over a small hole in the trees and we looked down,” Kuprianczyk says.