OCT 11 (FRESNO, Calif.) — Saelee Fahn Meng, aka Kathy Ming Lee, 53, and her husband, John Yaohinh Lee, of Waterford, were indicted today for growing marijuana near Waterford High School, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, the couple was found at a marijuana grow site on a 20-acre parcel of farmland that they own approximately 450 feet from Waterford High School, in violation of both federal and California law. Agents found and eradicated 491 marijuana plants weighing over four tons.
If convicted, Lee faces a sentence of five to 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine for each count. Because Saelee was convicted in federal court in 2001 of conspiring to import 95 kilograms of opium, she faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years and a maximum of 80 years, along with a $10 million fine.
Cultivating marijuana near a school carries an enhanced penalty. For that offense, Lee faces a sentence of five to 80 years in prison, and a $10 million fine, and Saelee faces a prison term of up to 120 years in prison and a $30 million fine. The defendants are scheduled to appear in federal court for arraignment on October 12, 2012.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, a multi-agency drug task force in Modesto. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting this case.