OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Authorities with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics say a year-long investigation has culminated into a major bust on Tuesday.
At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, OBN initiated a coordinated raid involving a large-scale marijuana operation.
In all, officials say they served 12 search warrants at nine different farms in southern Oklahoma, and three other buildings tied to the group.
“Something the Bureau of Narcotics has undertaken for the past year now is focusing on groups that have come to Oklahoma, have tried to take advantage of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program by blending in, but yet breaking the rules and committing a number of criminal violations,” said Mark Woodward, with the OBN.
Investigators say the farms involved were responsible for moving marijuana that was grown legally in Oklahoma across state lines onto the black market in other states. Those states include California, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and Texas.
Also, authorities say 13 arrest warrants have been issued for people connected to the farms.
“This is a great day for law and order in Oklahoma,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.
The largest farm involved in the raid was Big Buddha Farm in Wilson, Oklahoma.
OBN Director Donnie Anderson says the farm spanned across 80 acres and 500 structures.
“This is a pretty good sized drug trafficking operation. The nine that we did today are all connected and it’s part of this organization that’s responsible for moving tons and tons of marijuana out of Oklahoma and into other states,” said Anderson.
Officials say they have seized over 100,000 marijuana plants and over 200,000 pounds of processed marijuana. In all, they say the seizure is worth more than $500 million.
Anderson says there were over 300 law enforcement officers involved in the raids across the state.
“This was a massive operation that they’ve been working on for months and months,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Anderson says this is still an ongoing investigation, so there may be more arrests in the future.
Stitt added that law enforcement has been cracking down on black market marijuana, and will continue to do so in the future.
“Bad actors have no place in Oklahoma,” he said.
The five people in custody include Xiumeng Lyu, Shi Yang, Nan Weng, Dean Zheng, and Will Chen.