A Chicago man picked the wrong place at the wrong time for an apparent romantic tryst, according to police.
Erik F. Mota, 30, of the 5600 block of South Campbell Ave., Chicago, was arrested Sunday night just down the street from a massive marijuana grow house busted by Plainfield police and DEA agents last week, and stands accused of manufacture/delivery of 30-500 grams of cannabis and unlawful possession of a handgun.
Police said Mota was in Plainfield to meet with a woman who lives in the neighborhood of the alleged grow house on Tipperary Lane, but his vehicle — a Chevy Tahoe with dark tinted windows — drew the attention of wary neighbors, who reported the vehicle as suspicious.
Officers who arrived on the scene around 9:44 p.m. had a tough time seeing into the vehicle, which was parked illegally, but did not observe anyone in the front seat, according to Sgt. Mike Fisher.
Police did find two occupants — a man and a woman — in the backseat.
When the couple rolled down the window to talk to police, officers observed the smell of marijuana, Fisher said.
Police said Mota voluntarily handed over a small Ziploc baggie full of cannabis, but when additional officers arrived with the Plainfield Police Department’s K-9, the dog signaled the presence of additional drugs.
A search of the Tahoe turned up a hidden canister containing 101 grams of marijuana, Fisher said.
Police also discovered a Glock .40 caliber handgun in the pocket of a jacket that had been on the backseat with the two occupants of the vehicle.
Fisher said Mota tried to claim the jacket — and the gun — belonged to his date, but police were skeptical.
“She was a fairly small girl and he is a large guy,” Fisher said, noting that the jacket was a men’s size 3X.
In addition to the charges of manufacture/delivery of cannabis and unlawful possession of a handgun, Mota is charged with possessing a firearm without a valid Firearm Owners Identification Program card, possession of drug paraphernalia and a parking violation, according to jail records.
Mota told police he had no knowledge of the Tipperary Lane grow house and had come to Plainfield to see the woman, who was released without charges.
“He was parked at the far end of Tipperary, and the grow house is at the south end,” Fisher said.
Even so, the recent drug bust has made residents of the neighborhood especially observant, according to police.
“People are being a little bit more watchful in that neighborhood now,” he said.
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