By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
(USA TODAY) - Police on a routine helicopter patrol on Chicago's far South Side have discovered a marijuana farm with a ready-to-harvest crop worth as much $10 million.
A man was seen fleeing the site near 107th Street and Stony Island Avenue, the Chicago Tribune reports, but police have made no arrests.
Officers on the ground found a sleeping bag and fresh food.
The field, as big as two football fields, is located near a freeway, but tall grass prevented passing motorists from seeing the pot, police say, according to the newspaper.
James O'Grady, commander of the Chicago Police Department's narcotics division, tells the Associated Press that police have never seen anything like it before, in part because Chicago's harsh winters mean growers have a lot less time to plant, grow and harvest marijuana than their counterparts in California or Mexico.
"Somebody put a lot of thought into it," O'Grady says. "But they probably didn't anticipate the helicopter."
Chicago police officer Stan Kuprianczyk, a pilot, says police helicopters flew "over it all the time," to and from their hangar, without spotting the farm.
"We had the right altitude, the right angle, the right sunlight, and I happened to be glancing down," says Cook County Sheriff's Deputy Edward Graney. He says he initially spied five plants or so through the trees before he asked Kuprianczyk to circle around for a closer look.
"We just happened to be right over a small hole in the trees and we looked down," Kuprianczyk says.