The man charged with killing four Chinese nationals at a marijuana farm in Oklahoma demanded the victims pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars before committing his attack.
Wu Chen was apprehended in Miami, Florida after feeling the scene of the quadruple murder on Nov. 20. The farm is about 55 miles outside of Oklahoma City.
The victim included three men and one woman and their identities have not been made public. A fifth person was found alive but critically injured at the scene.
Court filings indicate Chen demanded the employees of the operation give him $300,000, which he said was a part of his investment in the grow operation, according to eyewitness testimony.
“The fact that it could not be handed over on a moment’s notice is what precipitated the mass murder,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Austin Murrey.
The prosecution has asked that the 45-year-old Chinese national be held on bond, per Fox News.
The 10-acre “Chen & Liu” marijuana farm’s owners are “international” according to law enforcement.
On Dec. 2, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics revealed the license for the farm was fraudulently obtained.
Oklahoma law required that a state resident must have 75% ownership of any marijuana grow operation. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2018. The name Kevin Pham appears on the application for a license, which falsely says the business meets the Oklahoma resident ownership requirement.
“Agents have interviewed the man who is listed as the 75% owner … that person has no knowledge of operations,” said Bureau spokesman Mark Woodward. “He just went to Pham’s office for payments.”
Pham has been arrested on weapons and drug charges, per ABC News.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics is now investigating whether marijuana grown at the farm was illegally sold in other states.
According to authorities, Chen entered one of multiple buildings on the property around 5:45 PM on Nov. 20 and stayed for a “significant” amount of time before executing the four victims.
“This was definitely not random,” Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Brook Arbeitman told the press when news of the attack broke. “This appears to be a very purposeful act.”
Kingfisher County Sheriff Dennis Banther said the attack was not random but rather the result of a “longstanding internal dispute.”
Law enforcement responded to a call about a possible hostage situation later that evening.
Chen was arrested without incident after a car-tag reader flagged the vehicle he was driving in Florida on Nov. 22. The suspect made his first court appearance via video on Dec. 5 with the assistance of a Mandarin interpreter. Associate District Judge Lance Schneiter is presiding over the case.
Chen is being represented by Mitchell S. Solomon, an attorney from the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, who informed the court that his client’s name is “Wu Chen” and not “Chen Wu” as it appears on documents filed by the state.