Medical marijuana grower busted on Northwest Side gets six years in prison
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org February 10, 2012 8:24PM
Ryan Bailey outside the Cook County courthouse at 26th and California in November. | Frank Main-Sun-Times photo
Updated: March 12, 2012 8:04AM
A Colorado medical marijuana grower arrested with a shipment of dozens of pounds in Chicago has been sentenced to six years in state prison.
Ryan Bailey, 29, is a former Chicago mortgage broker who moved to Colorado where he was busted last year on a charge of growing hundreds of marijuana plants illegally. He was also arrested in 2010 after Chicago Police officers raided a Northwest Side home and found him holding a package of marijuana.
A Sun-Times series last year profiled Bailey as being part of a “green rush” of entrepreneurs moving to California and Colorado from Chicago to make a fortune in the medical marijuana industry. Bailey told the newspaper: “Some people in the industry have gotten lucky. Other guys like me have gotten caught in the system.”
In a trial before Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood, Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Sobczyk said Bailey was the ringleader of an operation that shipped 42 pounds of marijuana worth more than $300,000 to a home in the 5100 block of North La Crosse on March 9, 2010.
When officers entered the home, Bailey was sitting near the box holding a package of marijuana, police said. He told police he flew from Colorado to Chicago that morning. The box was shipped through the United Parcel Service, police said.
Bailey’s attorney Richard Beuke said police couldn’t directly link his client to the box or the home. He was at the “wrong place at the wrong time,” Beuke said.
Two other men in the home were also convicted of drug charges, but received probation. One of the men had signed for the package when an undercover cop delivered it to the home, police said.
Bailey was sentenced last week and is being held in Stateville Correctional Center, records show.
Bailey’s wife operated a licensed marijuana dispensary in Denver, records show. Bailey was arrested in Colorado last year after officers allegedly found more than 670 marijuana plants growing in a warehouse he used outside Denver. A felony charge of cultivating 30 more marijuana plants illegally is still pending against him in Colorado.