Feds seize $3 million of pot plants in Delta County, arrest 2, and allege 'Asian cell cartel'

Multiple agencies seized roughly 1,800 marijuana plants during search warrants in Delta County on Monday. (Submitted photo/DCSO)

Federal agents seized mature marijuana plants worth millions that were being grown as part of “Asian cell cartel” operations, authorities said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by the Delta County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force, served warrants in the 4000 block of Sundown Road and on Meeker Street in Delta.

As part of the operations, they arrested Sang Bang, 36, and Qjongqiong Lin, 34, who were transported to jail in Mesa County, where they were being held on federal charges, including ones from a previous illegal grow in Mesa County, the DCSO said in a news release.

The warrants served on Monday were issued after several months of investigation into a large illegal marijuana grown, the DCSO said in announcing the operation. At the Sundown Road address, federal agents seized 1,800 mature marijuana plants estimated to be worth $3 million.

Investigators also seized two illegal firearms at the home on Meeker Street, the DCSO said. Agents allege an Asian cartel cell is responsible for this grow and several other large, illegal marijuana grows across Western Colorado and elsewhere.

“I am happy we were able to identify this group and work together with our federal, state and local partners to rid Delta County of this illegal marijuana grow operation,” Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor said, adding that there have been several groups such as this one, which are associated with illegal cartel organizations, that have moved into local communities over the past few years to illegally grow and sell marijuana. These operations also bring in other crimes to the county, such as credit card fraud, illegal narcotics distribution and more, Taylor said.

This article was edited to clarify information in the initial news release that said several people were arrested at the Meeker Street home. Taylor said only two arrests, the ones by federal agents, were made.

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