February 25, 2016
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
New York Man Arraigned In Federal Court In Rhode Island In Alleged Conspiracy To House Sophisticated Indoor Marijuana Grows
Government alleges that Samin Chang was the leader of a conspiracy to house numerous marijuana grow facilities inside a converted mill building
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Samin Chang, 38, of New York, NY, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Providence, RI, today on charges that he allegedly participated in a conspiracy to house numerous sophisticated indoor marijuana grow operations inside a converted Providence mill building and a Providence residence. In August 2015, federal, state and local law enforcement discovered at least 1,400 marijuana plants in various stages of growth located inside the former mill building and the residence.
Named with seven others in a four-count superseding indictment returned on February 16, 2016, Samin Chang is charged with conspiracy, using and maintaining a drug involved premises, and manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants. A not guilty plea was entered at Chang’s arraignment before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan, at which time the government alleged that Chang was the leader of the conspiracy. Chang was arrested in New York City on February 16, 2016, on a federal arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.
On August 12, 2015, FBI agents, assisted by the DEA, Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department, executed nine court authorized search warrants in and around a former mill building at 725 Branch Avenue in Providence, where it is alleged that law enforcement discovered at least 1,400 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The grows were located inside numerous, otherwise vacant, apartments and offices inside the converted mill building. A tenth search warrant was executed at a residence at 60 Valley Street in Providence, where law enforcement discovered approximately 100 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. Law enforcement also seized a significant quantity of equipment and supplies allegedly used in the cultivation of marijuana plants. Also named in the superseding indictment are Richard A. Yang, 36, Ilhwan Cha, 33, Ki T. Kwon, 32, Brian Lee, 28, Zipora Sardjuli, 55, Doddy Sambuaga, 45, and Irwan Anwar, 53, all of New York, NY.
While executing the court authorized search warrants inside the converted mill building, law enforcement seized a .22 caliber firearm and ammunition. The owner of the building, William L. Ricci, 69, of Providence, was charged by way of a criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to a plea agreement filed with the court, Ricci has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. A change-of-plea hearing has been scheduled for March 11, 2016.
The superseding indictment and Chang’s arraignment are announced by Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England; United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.