By: Buz Deliere | January 31, 2023
On the evening of November 20, Wu Chen arrived in the small Oklahoman town of Hennessey to serve his alleged purpose. The 45-year-old Chinese national is suspected of committing a gruesome quadruple homicide at an illegal grow operation.
Police reported that Wu had spent hours on the 10-acre compound and ended up executing four people three men and a woman, in an act reminiscent of mafia justice. A single individual was also injured during this tragic event, all the individuals involved are Chinese nationals.
The deceased have been identified as Quirong Lin, Chen He Chun, Chen He Qiang, and Fang Hui Lee, and the injured as Yi Fei Lin – all believed to have been in the country illegally.
In a somber reminder of the detrimental effects illicit activity can have, Oklahoma officials confirmed the multiple grisly killings linked to out-of-state and foreign drug rings that operate illegal marijuana farms within state borders. Despite attempts by law enforcement to curb this rising threat, sophisticated enterprises continually evade state and federal regulations.
Alarm bells have been ringing in Oklahoma lately: a rising number of Chinese nationals are taking over drug manufacturing facilities and the gruesome slayings that ensued have sent shockwaves across Asian-American communities nationwide. According to the state's narcotics agency, New York’s vulnerable youth may be falling victim to traffickers promising them easy money by luring them out west with false promises.
With its relatively affordable license and land prices, as well as less stringent regulations for marijuana farms across Oklahoma, it has become an increasingly attractive haven for illegal cannabis cultivators.
Oklahoma recently put a moratorium on cannabis-based businesses, but prior to that residents had the chance to obtain permits and legally cultivate large amounts of marijuana for medicinal purposes. What's more, even those who were relatively new in Oklahoma could benefit from this law; any resident living there for at least two years was eligible - so long as they owned 75% of their business.
Oklahoma's license fee was an attractive number for the illicit operators with an initial payment of US$2,500 and a renewal fee of only $2,000 annually. This stands in stark contrast to Arkansas’ high annual permit fee – up to around $100,000.
Recent months have seen an alarming surge in criminal activity within our state, with a rise of hundreds of cases being reported and investigated. OBN Executive Director Don Anderson has been quick to recognize the trend; indicating that many national and international organizations are taking advantage of laws found here. With such a drastic increase, law enforcement remains vigilant as they work tirelessly to combat this growing problem.
John O'Connor, recently departing from the post of Oklahoma's attorney general, revealed a startling statistic - that more than 80% of marijuana grown in-state is illegally exported nationwide. This makes Oklahoma America’s number one exporter of cannabis products and gives an indication of just how pervasive this illegal activity has become within the state borders.
In the Hennessey case, a large-scale marijuana grow operation in Oklahoma was found to have been illegally operated under "Liu & Chen Inc." According to court documents, prosecutors allege that one of the company's major stakeholders was fraudulently listed as an Oklahoma resident named Richard Ignacio.
After an extensive investigation, Kingfisher County Sheriff Dennis Banther uncovered that a local farm was owned by Yi Fei Lin and one of the male murder victims.
Assistant District Attorney Austin Murrey filed an affidavit in the Kingfisher County Court revealing that Wu had allegedly demanded a hefty repayment from the people at the farm. According to information provided by Mr. Murrey, Wu was requesting $300,000 as a return on his investment made toward business operations there
Murrey states, “The fact that it could not be handed over on a moment’s notice is what precipitated the mass murder.”
The state's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has determined that Lin Quirong and Chen He Chun died from multiple gunshot wounds as per their medical reports.
Chen He Chun, 60, is reported to be related to Chen He Qiang, and Fang Hui Lee, the report also states that the home addresses of the individuals were based out of New York.
OMMA has ramped up its enforcement team and is working closely with OBN to combat the number of illicit operations in the state. Since the moratorium on new grow licenses was enacted last year, there are now only about 7500 approved cultivators operating across the state - almost half of what it was a year ago.