Oklahoma Pharmacy Pays $140,000 to Settle Civil Penalty Claims Stemming from Allegations of Recordkeeping Violations
Conspiracy Connected to Nearly 28 Tons of Black-Market Marijuana Shipped from Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal jury has convicted JEFF WENG, 46, of China and Brooklyn, New York, and TONG LIN, 28, of China, of drug trafficking conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On June 6, 2023, a federal grand jury charged Weng and Lin with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana plants. On January 18, 2024, after a two-day trial, a federal jury deliberated about an hour before it found Weng and Lin guilty of drug conspiracy.
Between December 2022 and May 2023, evidence at trial indicated that Weng managed a marijuana grow in Wetumka, Oklahoma, and licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Evidence showed that Lin managed matters when Weng was not present. One witness testified that, as part of their participation in the drug conspiracy, they drove delivery vans disguised as commercial vehicles, including one disguised as an “Amazon” delivery van, to the Wetumka Grow 10 to 15 times between December 2022 and March 31, 2023. The witness further testified that they picked up between 150 and 200 pounds of marijuana each time from the Wetumka Grow, and that Lin helped load the fake “Amazon” delivery van with marijuana. The witness testified they transported the marijuana to a stash house in Oklahoma City. Every Friday, the witness transported the marijuana from the stash house to a warehouse in Oklahoma City. There, they loaded more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana at a time into a semi-truck trailer, which transported the marijuana from Oklahoma to the East Coast. Over approximately seven months, the witness shipped upwards of 56,000 pounds of marijuana out of Oklahoma via semi-truck. Evidence also showed that law enforcement searched the Wetumka Grow in May 2023 and located 19,661 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, more than $100,000 of vacuum-sealed cash hidden in Weng’s closet attic space, and a firearm.
“A license under state law to grow marijuana is not a license to traffic tons of black-market marijuana inside or outside Oklahoma,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. “Simply put, these defendants engaged in an orchestrated trafficking scheme to flood communities with illegal drugs. I commend the law enforcement and prosecutors who diligently investigated this case and held these defendants accountable.”
“Oklahoma has one of the largest illegal marijuana industries in the United States, and the FBI recognizes the devastating impact these illicit operations have on our economy and the safety of our communities,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “The convictions announced today are just a small piece of the long-running, multi-agency investigation into a prolific criminal enterprise, one that is responsible for supplying large quantities of illegal marijuana to violent gangs across the country. I want to thank our many local, state, and federal partners for their invaluable contributions to this complex investigation. We will continue to use a whole-of-government approach as we work to eradicate the damage caused by illegal marijuana cultivation and the violence it brings to our communities.”
“We cannot overstate the importance of these investigations and prosecutions. These cases send a powerful message that Oklahoma is not a safe haven for black market marijuana traffickers,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director, Donnie Anderson. “My agency is committed to working alongside our federal partners to identify and dismantle these trafficking organizations that try to hide and operate within Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program.”
Weng and Lin face mandatory-minimum sentences of 10 years, and up to life in federal prison and fines of up to $10,000,000 each. At sentencing, the United States will seek to forfeit the Wetumka Grow property and more than $100,000 in cash seized during the execution of a federal search warrant in connection with the case.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office, along with assistance from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. It is also a part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wilson D. McGarry and David Nichols, Jr. are prosecuting the case.
Reference is made to public filings for additional information.