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Massive $22.5M Chinese-Linked Marijuana Operation Busted in Georgia

In Georgia, four Chinese nationals were arrested in a $22.5M marijuana bust, revealing a high-tech operation with potential ties to a national crime syndicate.

In a revealing operation that underscores the evolving challenges of law enforcement and immigration in rural America, a substantial marijuana grow operation in Pierce County, Georgia, was dismantled last week, resulting in the arrest of four Chinese nationals. This operation, valued at an estimated $22.5 million, is not just a local or isolated incident but a stark illustration of the sophisticated and widespread nature of illegal activities that have international ties, potentially linked to a national crime syndicate.

The arrestees, identified as Zhu Sheng Bing, Jinpeng Ma, Chenhui Shu, and Wei Sheng Deng, were charged with felony possession and manufacturing of marijuana, alongside expected trafficking charges. Interestingly, while three were in the United States legally, one was not. The involvement of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining one individual underscores the federal interest and the immigration implications of such operations.

Georgia’s Department of Agriculture and Pierce County law enforcement’s discovery of the operation initially sprang from suspicions of illegal food processing, only to uncover a high-tech marijuana cultivation endeavor. The sophistication and scale of the operation, with over 11,000 plants at various growth stages and significant infrastructure investment, suggest not merely a local enterprise but a cog in a larger machine with ties extending as far as New York and Houston.

This bust is indicative of a concerning trend: the proliferation of Chinese-backed illegal marijuana farms across the United States, from the rural expanses of Maine to the valleys of Colorado and the fields of Tennessee. The involvement of Chinese nationals, with over 20,000 encountered at the border this fiscal year—a stark increase from 450 in 2021—raises alarming questions about the scale of illegal immigration and its ties to criminal activities on American soil.

The operation’s revelation comes at a time when House Republicans are pressing for more stringent enforcement against illegal marijuana farms, questioning the efficacy of the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency in curbing these illicit activities. It’s a call to action for a more robust response to safeguard our communities and uphold the rule of law against sophisticated criminal networks that exploit our immigration system and the sanctity of our rural heartlands.

As the investigation continues, with federal law enforcement expected to deepen their involvement, it is imperative for policymakers and law enforcement agencies to address the root causes and networks facilitating these operations. This incident should serve as a wake-up call for a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to combat not only the illegal drug trade but also the loopholes in our immigration system that allow such elements to thrive. The security of our nation’s borders and rural communities depends on our collective resolve to tackle these intertwined challenges head-on, ensuring that America’s heartland remains safe and secure from the clutches of international criminal syndicates.

Robert Chernin

Robert Chernin

Robert B. Chernin has brought his years of political consulting and commentary back to radio. As a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser and political confidant, Robert has a unique perspective with insights not heard anyway else. Robert has consulted on federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Robert co-founded and served as president of the Electoral Science Institute, a non-profit organization that utilizes behavioral science to increase voter participation and awareness. Robert can be heard on multiple radio stations and viewed on the “Of the People” podcast where you get your podcasts.