A Chesterton man whose home in the Villages of Sand Creek police say was
found full of hydroponically grown marijuana plants has pleaded guilty to
the first count in a five-count indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for
the Northern District of Indiana said.
Alan Zimmerman, 43, pleaded guilty this week to knowingly possessing 100 or
more marijuana plants with the intent to manufacture and distribute
marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The original indictment also charged Zimmerman with manufacturing and
distributing marijuana; felon in possession of firearms; possessing a
firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act; and possessing an
Under the plea agreement, the other four counts have been dismissed and
Zimmerman is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and
four years of supervised release. Also under that agreement, should
Zimmerman qualify for enhanced penalties, the government will not seek to
have them imposed.
The maximum sentence for the charge to which Zimmerman pleaded is 40 years
in prison and a $2 million fine.
Zimmerman agreed as well to forfeit his “interest” in eight firearms found
in his possession.
In July 2010, Zimmerman was taken into custody by the Porter County Drug
Task Force (DTF) in a coordinated operation with the Porter County Sheriff’s
Police, the Chesterton Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, and the Cook County, Ill., Sheriff’s Police.
Recovered from Zimmerman’s home at 1759 Summerlin Court were around 763
marijuana plants in various stages of development, police said; 90 pounds of
loose marijuana; numerous loaded semi-automatic military-style rifles,
shotguns, handguns, and ammunition; several thousand pounds of hydroponic
growing equipment; and numerous hypodermic syringes and needles.
Concurrent search warrants were executed at two other homes: one in Skokie,
Ill., belonging to Zimmerman’s family, where more marijuana was recovered;
the other in Berrien County, Mich., a $1.3 million estate owned by Zimmerman
himself, police said.
Surveillance began on Zimmerman earlier in the summer last year after DTF
received a tip from the Cook County HIDTA Task Force that Zimmerman was
believed to be cultivating high-quality marijuana in Skokie and that he may
be doing the same thing in Chesterton, police said. Energy records were
subsequently obtained for Zimmerman’s home, indicating that while the
previous owners had consumed an average of 1,200 kilowatts of electricity
per month, Zimmerman was averaging 8,356 kilowatts, consistent with the
energy consumption of grow lights, police said.
Zimmerman was initially charged in Porter Superior Court, then his case was
transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.