Five Bay Area Persons Charged in Large Marijuana Manufacturing Operation
SACRAMENTO-- DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena, United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott, and Elk Grove Police Chief Bob Simmons announced today that WEI LUN ZHOU, age 35, of San Francisco, CHRISTY TAN, age 25, of San Francisco, PHILIP YU, age 29, of Oakland, and JOHN HIN, age 25, of Oakland, were all arraigned in United States District Court on a two-count federal indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 plants of marijuana, and manufacturing at least 1,000 plants of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841(a)(1).
CAN HUI ZHEN, age unknown, of San Francisco was also charged with the same offenses, but has not yet made his initial appearance in federal court. If convicted, all defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for at least 10 years.
This case is the product of an extensive/joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Elk Grove Police Department.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Twiss, who is prosecuting the case, information presented in court shows that this was an extensive and sophisticated commercial manufacturing operation. There were five separate single family residences in Elk Grove and North Natomas which were searched on August 3 and 4 for evidence of manufacturing marijuana. Officers found a total of 1,975 marijuana plants at the five residences. No one lived at any of the houses, which were completely converted into indoor cultivation operations.
In addition, agents and officers from DEA and the Elk Grove Police Department executed follow-up search warrants at two additional residences in Elk Grove on August 23rd, and found sophisticated manufacturing operations at those houses as well. Agents found a total of 2,200 additional plants at the two houses on August 23rd, for a total of approximately 4,150 plants at the seven residences.
Each of the seven residences was configured in the exact same manner. Each was set up to create a natural growing cycle of night and day, but compressing the length of each day by using artificial lighting and black out conditions to mimic day and night, as well as to make a uniform climate every day. Each used a sophisticated lighting system using 1,000 watt halogen bulbs which were supplied with power by electrical equipment which allows use of several 1,000 watt bulbs for several hours at a time. Each room in each house had an irrigation system which was operated with timers in order to provide the plants with the optimum amount of water and also provide good drainage.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.