Crime /

Suspect Arrested After 'Executions' of Four Chinese Nationals at Marijuana Farm in Oklahoma

Lawmakers considered legislation that would prevent foreign ownership of land earlier this year

Law enforcement in Oklahoma has said the four Chinese citizens found dead at a marijuana farm were executed.

Wu Chen was taken into custody in connection to the murders on Nov. 22, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Chen was arrested in Miami, Florida around 4 PM after a car tag reader identified the vehicle he was driving.

Chen is currently at the Miami-Dade County Detention Center. He will be extradited to Oklahoma, where he will be charged with murder and shooting with intent to kill.

Officers from the Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office initially went to the farm in Hennessey after receiving a call about a potential hostage situation on Nov. 20. 

The 45-year-old suspect allegedly entered one of the buildings on the farm around 5:45 PM and spent a “substantial amount of time” inside before attacking. 

The deceased victims include three men and one woman. A fifth victim, a male Chinese national, was found injured at the scene and was transported to a hospital. Authorities were initially unsure if the people involved were related or just co-workers at the facility. 

One uninjured witness was found at the scene and was interviewed with the assistance of a Chinese interpreter. The suspected attacker had fled and was at large on Nov. 21.

Authorities believe the killings were intentional and not random. OSBI has not released the victims’ identities as next-of-kin notifications are pending amid a “significant language barrier.”

Law enforcement believes releasing the identity of the suspect at this time will put additional individuals in danger,” the agency noted in an update

The marijuana farm’s owners are not American citizens.

The property, described in the listing as 10 acres with 5,000 square feet of grow space and 50 temporary greenhouses, or hoop houses, was put on the market in May for $999,999,” reports NBC News

A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Porsha Riley, has confirmed the operation has an active license to grow medical marijuana at the location, per Fox KC. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2018. A referendum on the legalization of recreational marijuana will be presented to voters in March. 

Oklahoma lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year to prevent foreign nationals who do not reside in the state from buying land for business fronts, including medical marijuana farms, amid concerns about human trafficking. These efforts include Senate Bill 1469 which was introduced in February and Senate Joint Resolution 45.

“As Oklahoma’s marijuana industry continues to grow, we’ve seen an increasing number of foreign interests come into our state and purchase our farmland for astronomical amounts of money in order to set up grows and other related businesses,” said State Senator Warren Hamilton, who sponsored both bills. “While Oklahoma law already prevents foreign land ownership, it doesn’t prevent these folks from creating businesses to purchase property. Senate Bill 1469 will put an end to this workaround of current state statute.”

“To allow any foreign entity to own a piece of America is treasonous – such foolishness may be allowed in places like California, but it should never happen here in Oklahoma,” Hamilton added in his statement. “I’m confident my colleagues will see the urgent need to close the loophole in current state statute and put an end to foreign land ownership in our state.”

Similar efforts were made in May on the federal level by U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington. Newhouse introduced the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act which would prohibit the sale of public or private agricultural land to foreign nationals with a connection to the Chinese government.

“There is simply no reason we should be reliant on a communist country like China for our food supply,” the congressman said in a press release. “If we begin to cede the responsibility over our food supply chain to an adversarial foreign nation, we could be forced into exporting food that is grown within our own borders and meant for our own use.”

“Conversely, by bolstering American agriculture, we can create jobs, strengthen our economy, and enhance our national supply chain into the future,” added Newhouse. “Simply put, we should be taking every action we can to strengthen our domestic production while preventing our adversaries from gaining a foothold in our supply chain.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Dan Newhouse was a Senator, not a Representative, from Washington. 

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