A Grayslake man, who was arrested in the spring after authorities uncovered a 200-plant indoor marijuana grow operation at an Elburn warehouse and seized 68 pounds of pot, has been sentenced to 7½ years in prison and issued a large drug fine.
Maksim Gokhman, 36, of the 1500 block of Meadow View Court, pleaded guilty this week in Kane County to one count of possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis with intent to deliver, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Under the plea agreement accepted by Judge John Barsanti, Gokhman also must pay a $125,000 drug fine, plus another $4,230 in court costs. Prosecutors dismissed less severe charges, according to court records.
"This was a kid out of work, a family to support, and he did a dumb thing," defense attorney Joseph Dinatale said afterward. "The state was very fair. They saw this was a guy who was willing to say 'I did it.'"
Dinatale acknowledged what Gokhman did was illegal, but noted that cartels and gangs that have clandestine grow operations often lace their marijuana with other hard drugs to get users higher and possibly addicted.
Gokhman was just growing the plant, Dinatale said.
"All it was weed," Dinatale said. "This was strictly a homegrown operation."
A Kane County Sheriff's deputy was monitoring a warehouse on the 200 block of Nebraska Street for suspicious activity and arrested Gohkman in early March.
Gohkman had two outstanding warrants out of McHenry County for driving under the influence and violation of an order of protection, so deputies handcuffed him and found a half-pound of marijuana in his vehicle, officials said.
Authorities obtained a search warrant for the warehouse and found 200 marijuana plants in different stages of growth and 68 pounds of harvested marijuana worth an estimated $150,000, officials said. Also recovered were logs indicating what types of marijuana were being grown, according to court records.
Under state law, Gokhman can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior in prison. He also gets credit for serving six months at the Kane County jail, where he was held while the case was pending.