East Bay Marijuana Trafficker Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail
OAKLAND, Calif. – Peng Li was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison for distributing and conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
Li was convicted in September on two drug trafficking charges after a trial by jury. During the trial, evidence showed that Li and his associates operated three indoor marijuana grow houses in suburban residential neighborhoods in Antioch, Pinole, and Bay Point, Calif., as well as a marijuana processing location in Oakland. According to the evidence offered at trial, Li and his associates rented the houses, constructed elaborate electrical bypasses to power their growing lights with stolen electricity, used voluminous amounts of chemical fertilizers, and destroyed walls and ceilings inside the houses to build ventilation and hydration systems. According to witnesses at trial, Li and his associates grew approximately 3,000 marijuana plants in this manner over multiple grow cycles. The evidence at trial also showed that at least one of the houses in a residential area of Pinole appeared to have been burglarized by unknown parties.
“Indoor marijuana grow operations are illegal under federal law,” U.S. Attorney Haag said. “Moreover, they threaten the safety of our residential neighborhoods by greatly increasing the risk of burglaries, environmental damage and fires.”
Li, 29, of Antioch, was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on July 15, 2008. He was charged with manufacturing, distributing, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiring to do the same.
The case was the result of a multi-year operation dubbed Operation Triple Stack, led by the San Francisco office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations. The San Francisco Police Department, Oakland Police Department, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also participated in Operation Triple Stack, which targeted a group of ecstasy and marijuana traffickers. The investigation was conducted in coordination with related ecstasy-trafficking investigations in Sacramento and Denver, resulting in the apprehension of more than 50 individuals nationwide.
The 10-year sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton on Jan. 18, 2012. Judge Hamilton also sentenced the defendant to a four-year period of supervised release, and ordered the seizure of a Rolex watch that prosecutors said was worth approximately $6,000 and was purchased using illegal drug proceeds.