Four individuals were “executed” at a marijuana farm in Oklahoma over the weekend, according to authorities, who say a suspect has been detained.
According to a statement from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Wu Chen, 45, was detained in Miami, Florida, just before 4 p.m. when a license plate scanner alerted authorities to the car he was driving.
Chen was taken into custody without a hitch and is now awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, where he will likely be charged with murder and shooting with the intent to kill, according to the agency.
It wasn’t immediately obvious whether Chen has a lawyer who can represent him.
The agency previously stated that there were three men and one woman among the victims. They were not named, although they were identified as being of Chinese descent.
The incident, which happened on Sunday in a remote location northwest of Oklahoma City, injured a fifth Chinese national, according to the agency. The individual’s condition was not immediately known.
According to the statement, the suspect entered a structure on the site at about 5:45 p.m. The suspect was there for a “substantial amount of time before the executions began,” according to the bureau, and there was another staff present.
A suspect was taken into custody after four people were "executed" at a marijuana farm in Oklahoma over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday. https://t.co/OkHwGCuNHE
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 23, 2022
The deaths didn’t seem random, the statement continued.
The bureau remained mum on the manner of the victims’ deaths. Authorities stated in a statement on Monday that deputies investigating a complaint of a hostage situation discovered their bodies.
On Monday, armed agents could be seen scouring the premises for the culprit. NBC affiliate KFOR of Oklahoma City claimed that a helicopter and a drone were also utilized.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs confirmed on Tuesday that the organization was looking into the validity of the grow operation’s active medical marijuana license.
Tuesday, no one could be reached at the company despite our best efforts. When contacted by phone regarding a sale listing for the property, a commercial real estate agent indicated she was unaware of the owner.
The property was listed for sale in May for $999,999 and is characterized in the listing as 10 acres with 5,000 square feet of grow space and 50 temporary greenhouses, or hoop houses.
According to a neighbor, Brandon Walker, the area was formerly a dairy farm but was recently purchased by an investment firm, which later sold it again before being turned into a grow facility.
Since medical marijuana use was approved by Oklahoma voters in 2018, more than 10,000 businesses have received licenses, and 1 in 10 citizens now have cards allowing them to purchase the drug.
A bill temporarily halting new dispensary and processing licenses was signed by Governor Kevin Stitt in May. The action was taken as a result of politicians’ claims that commercial operations, including those involving out-of-state and foreign growers, were abusing the state’s residency laws and its meager enforcement capabilities.
Law enforcement officials have documented a spike in black market operators using suspected human trafficking victims, especially Chinese nationals, to cultivate and trim marijuana supplied in legal dispensaries. However, the condition of the grow operation where the quadruple homicide happened is still unknown.