NEWCASTLE, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics says its working to shut down illegal marijuana operations in Oklahoma. The agency is cracking down on any grow farms that may be tied to any international criminal drug trafficking. They are raiding farms on a daily basis.
Drug agents told KFOR a recent bust in Newcastle is just one example of an illegal operation taking place in Oklahoma. Max Green Cannabis LLC was recently shut down and the people arrested had ties to international crime organizations.
“There’s collateral criminal activities taking place in addition to just the fact that they’re growing illegally and using a fraudulent license. And these can be very, very violent individuals,” said Mark Woodward, spokesperson for Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control recently raided Max Green Cannabis LLC in Newcastle. Agents seized more than 4,300 plants and nearly 200 pounds of processed marijuana.
Rui Ye and Chen Yu were taken into custody and booked into the McClain County Jail for charges of aggravated cultivation and drug trafficking.
Both bonded out the next day.
Mark Woodward with OBN said they’re focused on a number of “out-of-state” black market operations tied to alleged crime networks from around the world.
“We’ve identified criminal groups from Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia, even Serbia that have come here, move their operations, their black-market marijuana operations to Oklahoma in the last two to three years because they can maximize their profits for the criminal organizations,” said Woodward.
Woodward claims the suspects in their investigations are also tied to other violent crimes.
“There may be people who watch and say, well, what’s the big deal? It’s just marijuana. I don’t think they have the full gravity of the situation about the violent behavior, the quadruple homicides, the sex trafficking, labor trafficking, extortion, violence, arson, water and electrical theft and other issues that we’re dealing with out here with these criminal organizations here in Oklahoma,” said Woodward.
In the last two years, the OBN has shut down over 800 marijuana farms, made over 200 arrests and seized almost 700,000 pounds of illegal marijuana.
“They’re hurting it for everybody because the black market can drive the prices so low that it’s driving legitimate businesses to bankruptcy and to closure. And so, we’re going to do everything we can to protect the businesses while going after and sending a message to those that this is not a safe haven for your criminal organizations to come and try to hide, because we will identify them and we will shut them down,” said Woodward.
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The OBN is currently investigating several thousand additional farms across the state that agents believe are operating in the same manner.
“A lot of these people move their operations to Oklahoma to maximize their profits because we do have cheaper land, cheaper licenses and some of the loosest regulations in the country. But as a result, we have stayed very, very busy,” said Woodward.
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