Law enforcement officers busted an illegal grow operation in rural Lincoln County Tuesday morning estimated to have more than $17 million in product.
The special operations team operating under Allan Grubb, the district attorney for Lincoln and Pottawatomie Counties, arrested the property owner, Sai Ying Lin on charges of marijuana cultivation and operating a dwelling containing drugs.
“We are trying to eradicate the illegal spread of the marijuana industry in Oklahoma,” Grubb said. “Illegal activity breeds illegal activity.”
Eighty-two grow houses, each containing hundreds of plants, were cleaned out on the 10-acre property. Grubb said there were easily thousands of plants being grown by more than 20 workers.
“There’s no checks and balances to make sure that what the consumer is buying is a safe, clean product. The only way this can be sold is on the black market,” he said.
Lin was taken into custody without incident, and the workers were let go. A small housing unit with eight bedrooms was located on the back end of the property.
“We know it’s a sad state of affairs that these workers were forced to live in,” Grubb said.
Grubb said the group operating the grow houses was Chinese.
The special operations team, funded by the Lincoln and Pottawatomie County Commissions, is focused on illegal marijuana grow operations. Grubb said Tuesday’s bust likely does not make a dent in the overall illegal market in the state.
“We’re just trying to enforce the law and we’re trying to help the legal growers,” Grubb said. “I don’t think anyone in the state of Oklahoma can give anybody a real estimate on the scope of the illegal industry in Oklahoma.”