Accused local pot grower is DuPage sheriff’s ‘most wanted’

<p>Aurora resident Gregory F. Accardi, who was arrested late last week and charged with growing marijuana plants inside his home, has spent time in prison on similar charges. | Courtesy of DuPage County Sheriff's Office</p>

Aurora resident Gregory F. Accardi, who was arrested late last week and charged with growing marijuana plants inside his home, has spent time in prison on similar charges. | Courtesy of DuPage County Sheriff's Office

An ex-convict facing trial for allegedly growing scores of marijuana plants last year in his home is DuPage County Sheriff’s John E. Zaruba’s “Manhunt Monday Pick of the Week.”

Gregory F. Accardi has failed to appear in DuPage County Circuit Court for two scheduled, pretrial hearings, and is presumed to be in hiding or on the run.

Accardi, 61, faces trial on charges of producing or possessing more than 50 but not more than 200 marijuana plants; the manufacture or delivery of more than 2,000 but not more than 5,000 grams of marijuana; unlawful use or possession of weapons or ammunition by convicted felons; and resisting or obstructing a police officer, according to court records.

Judge George J. Bakalis on Feb. 3 ordered Accardi’s $12,500 bond forfeited, after he failed to appear that day for a scheduled hearing. Accardi failed to appear again as scheduled on March 10.

Accardi and his roommate, Matthew J. Fenton, were arrested just before 6 p.m. July 11 in their home on the 400 block of Plaza Place in Aurora. Naperville and Aurora police had been investigating the two men, and that day allegedly found 230 marijuana plants being grown there, as well as five pounds of harvested marijuana.

Fenton, 31, pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of producing or possessing more than 50 but not more than 200 marijuana plants. He was ordered to serve six months in DuPage County Jail, placed on two years of probation and assessed a total of $5,212 in fines and legal costs.

Records on file with the Illinois Department of Corrections in Springfield indicated Accardi in 2004 began serving concurrent, five-year prison terms for a 1998 marijuana-related crime in Kane County and a 2002 case in DeKalb County.

He was convicted of a felony charge of the manufacture and delivery of marijuana in the Kane County matter and charges of possession of marijuana and the manufacture and delivery of marijuana in DeKalb County. He was discharged from parole on Jan. 5, 2007, records showed.

Illinois State Police in September 1992 flew an airplane over property located at Route 38 and Meredith Road near Maple Park, which was owned at the time by Accardi and his wife. Police discovered 45 marijuana plants were being grown there inside a locked barn and near a chicken coop.

The Accardis’ convictions in that case were subsequently overturned, after an Illinois Appellate Court panel ruled police had conducted a “warrantless search” of the property. But in an August 1999 decision, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel upheld the Accardis’ forfeiture of the property stemming from their arrests.

A release from Zaruba’s office described Accardi as being 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 175 pounds. He has gray hair and brown eyes.

Those with information about Accardi or his whereabouts were asked to call the sheriff’s office at 630-407-2400.

Further information about Accardi and the sheriff’s “Most Wanted” feature is available at dupagesheriff.org/mostwanted.

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