Eighth person sentenced as a result of major black market marijuana investigation
DENVER, Colo. – Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter in conjunction with U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced today that Fudong Wu, 40, of Aurora, and a Chinese national and legal permanent resident of the United States, was sentenced to serve 15 months in federal prison, followed by two years on supervised release, for maintaining a drug-involved premises. Wu appeared at the sentencing hearing remotely. Wu will voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons by October 7, 2020.
According to the stipulated facts in his plea agreement, during the investigation agents learned that an address in Aurora used electrical wattage which was far in excess of normal. They determined that the residence was in Wu and his wife’s name, and had been using excessive electricity from May 2018 to September 2018, indicating that the marijuana grow was present in the home during that period.
On October 10, 2018, agents executed a search warrant at the Aurora residence. Both Wu and co-defendant Hanli Yang lived at the residence since they purchased it in March 2018. Wu and Yang were present when agents entered the residence. The two are married with two children in the home.
In the basement, agents found a marijuana grow with 1,121 marijuana plants in various stages of maturity. Additionally, law enforcement found two pounds of dried marijuana and a notebook with grow notes. The grow was established by Wu, who was primarily responsible for cultivating the marijuana plants. The marijuana was intended for distribution.
Also during the search, agents located a storage locker invoice addressed to Wu. Wu consented to a search of the locker where agents seized $72,081 in cash and additional grow notes. The seized cash was derived from the sale of marijuana cultivated at the residence.
Co-defendant Hanli Yang was previously sentenced to serve 24 months on probation. In total, eight individuals, including Wu, have been sentenced as part of this investigation.
“This case was part of a larger illicit marijuana distribution network and is another example of how the DEA and our law enforcement partners will not rest while criminals continue to exploit Colorado’s marijuana laws for profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter. “I want to make it clear that when criminals break the law in our community, the DEA will investigate and prosecute them wherever they’re found.”
“This sentence is just one of many we expect to result from the investigation that began in 2017 and is still ongoing,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “These are large-scale commercial growers hiding in plain sight in hundreds of neighborhoods across Colorado. We will continue to search for them, and when we find them we will prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
The prosecution of Mr. Wang is part of a significant operation into the production and distribution of black market marijuana, first announced on May 24, 2019. (https://www.justice.gov/usao-co/pr/forty-two-individuals-arrested-one-largest-black-market-marijuana-takedowns-colorado)
The sentence was pronounced by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez on September 2, 2020. The guilty plea was entered on December 18, 2019. Wu was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 21, 2019. This case was investigated by the DEA. The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Teitelbaum.