Sacramento, Calif: Two weed growers Chi Meng Yang and Gaosheng Laitinen was charged with conspiring to commit bribery of the Sheriff and conspiracy manufacturing marijuana.
According to U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of California, Chi Meng Yang met with Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey in Yreka California. During the meeting, he offered $1 million to the Sheriff in exchange for his help with an interstate weed distribution business that Yang and his cooperators were in the process of organizing.
Yang explained his role that he represents several families, including himself, that currently growing marijuana in Siskiyou County. After the meeting, the Sheriff Jon Lopey immediately reported it to the FBI and the DEA. Feds asked the Sheriff to continue meeting with marijuana grower.
At the request and cooperation with the federal agents, the Sheriff contacted Yang and agreed to work with him and the weed growers he represented. The following meetings were video and audio recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Gaosheng Laitinen attended some of those meetings.
During the meetings, Yang and Laitinen talked with the Sheriff about how he could help them in their marijuana business. Yang’s offer of $1 million was the possibility of his securing and profiting from certain out-of-state marijuana licenses. They promised to pay the Sheriff a total of $80,000 if he exempts eight properties from the ban in Siskiyou County against outdoor marijuana grows.
They were looking protection from raids or any other law enforcement actions on these eight properties where outdoor marijuana has been grown. In the development of this plan, Yang and Laitinen gave the Sheriff several initial payments, totaling $10,500 in cash. All these funds were immediately turned over to the FBI as evidence.
Yang was arrested, and he is scheduled to make an initial court appearance in Sacramento federal court. Yang and Laitinen if convicted of the charges, they face the following maximum statutory penalties:
5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge. 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the bribery charge, and a minimum of 5 years and up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine for the drug charges.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, North State Marijuana Investigation Team, Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement, Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force, Siskiyou Unified Major Investigations Team, and California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael M. Beckwith is prosecuting the case.