Charges filed in $500K pot bust on NW Side

October 18, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Paul Sherman, 50, of the 3900-block of North Elston, was charged with one count of felony manufacturing of marijuana, along with weapons violations.

Police say the marijuana weighed more than 5,000 pounds and has a street value of more than $500,000.

Sherman runs a photography studio out of the location.

The suspect is expected to appear in bond court Thursday.

Police called it an "exotic" growing operation.

His neighbor and friend Sam Cole said he didn't suspect a thing.

"I saw the storefront, and I said, 'Hey, that's Paul's place," Cole said. "I didn't know he was doing that."

Sherman touts himself as being a professional photographer for over 15 years and has many clients.

Joel Guerrero even wanted to book Sherman for an event but was told he does onsite photography only.

"Never gave out anything," said Guerrero. "That's all I knew, that's all you can see is a photo studio."

Neighbors said Sherman lived in the studio and often had landscapers and dog walkers come to his location.

When police raided his studio, Sherman cooperated with police, officials said. It was a strange sight for those that know him, who say he was pleasant and kept to himself.

"I'm thinking what else can be going around in this neighborhood that we don't know about? He's got a good cover, a photography studio," Cole said.

Sherman appeared in court Thursday and bond was set at $15,000 cash. He is due back in court on November 8th.

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