A Grand Rapids local, along with family members and accomplices, have been charged with operating an interstate drug ring. The group is accused of trafficking illegal marijuana through multiple states including Michigan and Oklahoma.
A criminal complaint was filed in Oklahoma Federal court on May 2 naming Naigang Lin as the accused ringleader, along with his family members Naiyang Ling, Li Jin Yang, and Dong Lin. Other defendants include Chang-Hui Chen, Meiyan Xiao, Barry Stadler from Michigan, as well as Daniel Walsh, Terrance Jamahl Allen, Fei Xie, Ahmed Salim Harrold Sr. from Michigan, and Luis Rafael Larios-Benites.
Lin, who recently moved from Grand Rapids to Oklahoma City has been accused by Homeland Security Investigations of illegally growing and selling marijuana. While both states allow for legal marijuana, Lin was allegedly operating outside the law.
Federal agents have been diligently monitoring activities of Lin since September 2020. A 48-page criminal complaint authored by an HSI agent revealed they were initially alerted when Lin traveled from New York City to Grand Rapids with $50,000 in cash.
Federal authorities have identified at least four locations in the Grand Rapids area where drug activity was believed to be taking place. One instance involved a May 2021 bust, in which police seized 28 pounds of marijuana from an associate of the suspect at a property north of Rockford.
In a recent raid on a property in Byron Center, authorities discovered over 3,000 marijuana plants and 42 pounds of processed marijuana in October 2021. According to court documents, Ahmed Harrold's name was linked to a storage unit in Wyoming, Michigan, where marijuana was also found. Investigators discovered instructions on Harrold's phone from someone named Lin regarding the transport of drugs to Muskegon. Further investigations led authorities to uncover additional quantities of marijuana at various addresses in Lansing.
According to the HSI agent, Lin may have been using his parents' restaurant in Oklahoma City to collect drugs or drug money. In May of 2022, Lin was pulled over and found to have $90,000 in cash in his car after leaving Byron Center. He claimed it was for a house, but HSI suspects it was gathered from Washington, D.C., New York, and Michigan as drug money.
West Virginia authorities arrested Barry Stadler in April 2022 after discovering 430 pounds of marijuana in the car he was driving. HSI reports that the car was registered to Lin's brother. Stadler's phone records revealed that he had 80 communications with Lin in the two days leading up to his arrest. In January of this year, federal agents spotted Stadler transporting drugs for Lin in Oklahoma City.
A man named Daniel Walsh was stopped by authorities in Oklahoma last December carrying an alarming 262 pounds of marijuana. According to court documents, Walsh confessed to being a drug courier and claimed that he was transporting marijuana across multiple states, including Oklahoma, Michigan, California, Georgia, and Florida.
Terrance Allen, a third suspected courier, was apprehended in Tampa, Florida, in May 2022. HSI discovered about 1,900 pounds of marijuana in the U-Haul truck he was driving. In Oklahoma, he was found with an additional 262 pounds of illegal weed in February of this year.
Multiple suspects, including the brother and parents of Lin, have been arrested and are being held by the U.S. Marshals Service. Brandon Lin, Stadler, and Walsh made their first appearances in a Grand Rapids court on Wednesday.