YALE, Okla. (KFOR) – Court records filed in Payne County are revealing new details about what led up to state drug agents raiding two illegal marijuana grows last Thursday.
According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), both operations that were raided sit about a mile apart from one another near Highway 51 in Yale. 28,000 plants and nearly 500 pounds of processed marijuana were seized in total.
The court documents filed this week show the investigation into the grows started with a traffic stop last fall.
“Many of the ongoing cases that we have opened right now are the result of traffic stops from these individuals trying to move their product illegally out of state,” said Mark Woodward, a spokesman for OBN.
In this case, officers with the Mannford Police Department stopped a car driven by two people from Little Rock, Arkansas and found about 100 pounds of marijuana inside, according to court records. Both were arrested for trafficking marijuana.
The court documents go on to say that in September, both of those individuals admitted to an OBN Task Force Officer that they got the marijuana from a grow in Yale called Maria’s Green LLC.
The investigator discovered that the operation was being run by a woman named Ming Yu Zhao, according to the documents.
“She was one of the main targets of this investigation tied to moving the product for these farms,” said Woodward.
During last week’s raid, court records show Zhao admitted she’d been managing the farm for someone in Oklahoma City. She also owned up to growing, selling and accepting money for the illegal marijuana.
In addition to the plants, the documents say agents also found nearly $60,000 and four firearms. Zhao allegedly said the firearms were “for protection at the grow.”
Zhao is now facing charges for Unlawful Cultivation of Marijuana, Trafficking Illegal Drugs AND Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony, according to the Oklahoma State Courts Network.
“But we have multiple arrests that we are anticipating as this investigation continues,” said Woodward.