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Crime & Courts

Palatine man sentenced 
to 180 days for growing pot

WOODSTOCK – A Palatine man who police said financed an indoor marijuana grow operation at a rented house in McHenry has been sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Phillip J. Koeckritz, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawful production of marijuana, a Class 1 felony. He was given credit for 40 days served, and will report to the McHenry County Jail on Jan. 18 to serve the remainder of the time.

He also was ordered to complete two years of probation that includes random drug screens, undergo substance abuse treatment and pay a $3,000 fine.

Koeckritz and another man, Raymond Holland of East Dundee, were arrested in October 2009.

Police said they discovered more than 1,000 marijuana plants in a house on Homestead Drive. Officers requested a search warrant based on what they saw during a well-being check.

Holland pleaded guilty to his own production charge in January 2010 and was sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation.

Holland admitted to earning about $50,000 by caring for the marijuana plants three to five times a week. He said Koeckritz paid him and received the marijuana.

Before Holland and Koeckritz were arrested, prosecutors dismissed charges against Gordon Schwantner, the only person whose name appeared on the lease of the McHenry home.

The owner, who lived in Mississippi and had leased out the house through a Realtor, said rehabbing the house cost about $60,000.

A hearing on restitution to be paid by Koeckritz is scheduled for Jan. 18.

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