Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics conducts massive operation targeting criminal marijuana trafficking

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) on Tuesday led a massive multi-agency operation targeting criminal organizations growing and trafficking marijuana for the black market, that has so far resulted in the seizure of “100,000 plants and thousands of pounds of bulk processed marijuana,” according to a statement released by OBN.

OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says more than 200 state, federal and local law enforcement officers executed search warrants and arrest warrants early this morning at a dozen locations across the state after more than a year’s worth of police work.

“For over a year, OBN has been targeting numerous individuals and
organizations that have moved to Oklahoma from out-of-state and
used fraudulent business structures and ‘ghost owners’ to obtain their
Oklahoma Medical Marijuana licenses,” Woodward said. “These criminals try to blend into our state’s Medical Marijuana program while trafficking marijuana onto the illicit market around the United States, laundering money and moving millions of dollars in illicit drug proceeds overseas.”

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Woodward says this investigation identified brokers moving millions
of dollars in marijuana from multiple Oklahoma farms onto the black markets in states including but not limited to California, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and Texas. Woodward says search warrants were served at nine farms and three residential
locations connected to these illegal shipments.

Among the arrest warrants issued, are thirteen for suspects in Oklahoma, as well as one in California and three in Texas. Woodward says more arrests are expected as the investigation continues.

Woodward says an estimated 100,000 plants and thousands of
pounds of bulk processed marijuana have been seized from these
farms during today’s operation. OBN also will be filing asset forfeiture on multiple vehicles, bank accounts, cash, equipment, and at least eight of the properties linked to these illegal marijuana shipments
and money laundering.

Woodward says those arrested in this operation face a variety of
charges including Aggravated Trafficking and Aggravated Manufacturing. “We plan to file charges on these criminal brokers, business owners, landowners, and entities that helped facilitate the fraudulent documentation allowing these criminal organizations to get an Oklahoma Medical Marijuana license.”

OBN Director Donnie Anderson says more of these large-scale law
enforcement operations are planned as his agency continues to investigate hundreds of suspected illegal marijuana-growing operations around the state. “We are sending a clear and powerful message today that Oklahoma is not a safe haven for criminals who think they can hide behind a Medical Marijuana license,” Anderson said.

More than a dozen agencies assisted in the investigation and today’s operation including the DEA, Homeland Security Investigators, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Search warrants were issued for residential locations in Edmond, Mustang and Norman, and for farms in Wilson, Ratliff City, Chickasha, Madill, and Chandler, among others.

Those in custody as of Tuesday morning include:

  • XIUMENG LYU – Carter County Jail
  • SHI YANG – Stephens County Jail
  • NAN WENG – Canadian County Jail
  • DEAN ZHENG – Cleveland County Jail
  • WILL CHEN – Marshall County Jail