3 men indicted in illicit marijuana business conspiracy tied to pot farm where 4 were killed


Three men in Oklahoma have been indicted in a medical marijuana business conspiracy tied to a pot farm where a suspected former worker shot and killed four others and wounded a fifth in a dispute over a $300,000 investment.

In a news release, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said Kevin Paul Pham, 47, and Alex Shiang Lin Chang, 48, paid Richard Gregorio Ignacio, 36, to serve as a “straw owner” for medical marijuana grow operations in Kingfisher County and elsewhere in the state, effectively serving as a front for out-of-state individuals. Nonstate residents cannot legally be licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority or registered with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN).

“We cannot and will not tolerate these illegal enterprises enriching themselves at the expense of rural Oklahoma,” he said. “While there are many law-abiding participants in the state’s medical marijuana industry, law enforcement has seen an influx of others who are using the situation to supply black-market marijuana throughout the country.”

Pham, Chang and Ignacio are charged with conspiracy against the state and a pattern of criminal offenses. Pham and Ignacio face six counts of filing a false or forged instrument and one count of aggravated manufacturing of a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana), prosecutors said.

Pham also faces one count of trafficking of a controlled dangerous substance over 20 grams of methamphetamine, one count of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana) with the intent to distribute, one count of financial transactions involving proceeds of unlawful acts, and one count of possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony.

Three men have been indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving a medical marijuana business. One pot farm, pictured was where a worker shot and killed four. ((Aerial crime scene screenshot Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO-TV)

Three men have been indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving a medical marijuana business. One pot farm, pictured, was where a worker shot and killed four. (Aerial crime scene screenshot via KOCO)

Pham’s criminal defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Law&Crime. It was unclear if the other two had lawyers.

Attorney Tom Cummings, who represents Pham in a civil forfeiture case, described his client as a talented bookkeeper “who keeps people’s books, tells them what they owe for taxes.”

“If you’re looking for the kingpin, [Pham] ain’t it. He’s just a normal person. He has the bad luck to be Asian in Oklahoma when there is a raft of actions by OBN and other law enforcement targeting Asian people,” Cummings told Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR.

The allegedly illicit business in question is connected to an illegal 10-acre pot farm known as the Liu & Chen Farm near Hennessey, Oklahoma, the site of a quadruple murder on Nov. 20, 2022. The three men do not face charges in connection with the murders.

Wu Chen, 45, a former worker at the site, allegedly executed four people over his demand to have his $300,000 investment in the operation be returned, prosecutors said.

This photo provided by the Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department shows Chen Wu. Oklahoma prosecutors say the man accused of killing four people at a marijuana farm had demanded his $300,000 investment in the operation be returned shortly before he started shooting. Prosecutors charged 45-year-old Chen Wu on Friday with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Wu is also identified in jail records as Wu Chen. Jail and court records don't indicate the name of an attorney who could speak on Wu's behalf. (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department via AP)

Chen Wu, who allegedly killed four people at an Oklahoma marijuana farm (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department via AP).

“Eyewitnesses to the murders have stated that (Wu) demanded $300,000 be handed over to him by other employees of the marijuana operation, as a return of a portion of his ‘investment’ in the enterprise,” Assistant District Attorney Austin Murrey wrote, The Associated Press reported. “The fact that it could not be handed over on a moment’s notice is what precipitated the mass murder.”

Wu is accused of shooting one man in the leg and holding multiple people in a garage at gunpoint, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Phillip Ott wrote in the affidavit, the wire service reported. He demanded $300,000 within the next half-hour, or “he was going to kill everyone in the garage.”

Killed in the attack were Quirong Lin, Chen He Chun, Chen He Qiang and Fang Hui Lee, Chinese nationals, authorities said. A fifth man, Yi Fei Lin, was wounded.

Wu was arrested on Nov. 22, 2022, in Florida.

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