Chinese gangsters rule the illicit marijuana trade in Oklahoma

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NationalMatch

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Mayhem on the Prairie: Chinese gangsters rule the illicit marijuana trade in Oklahoma​

It may seem like a surprise to many that there could be a confrontation between Chinese gangsters at a marijuana farm on the Oklahoma prairie. But it is a reality that has been commonplace in Oklahoma since legislators opened the state up to the medical marijuana business.

As of January 2022, there hadn't been widely reported cases of Chinese gangsters specifically involved in the Oklahoma marijuana business. However, it's important to note that organized crime groups often exploit vulnerabilities in various industries, including the cannabis market. Here are some ways in which organized crime groups, including those with Chinese connections, might become involved.

One such violent confrontation recently took place at one of the hundreds of farms, this one in Lacey, Oklahoma, in Kingfisher County. The attackers were illegal immigrants from China who ransacked the operation, which in the first place was an illegal operation. The actions of state legislators have led to this mess of gargantuan proportions.

Organized crime generally has become involved in Oklahoma through a few wide-open gaps in the lack of foresight into what medical marijuana would bring with it. This begs the question:How do you set up a medical marijuana system and allow anyone to apply for a license? Why was the system not restricted to distribution by pharmacists or doctors?
Chinese organized crime gets involved in Oklahoma in five primary ways:
  • Illegal Distribution Networks: Organized crime groups may infiltrate the marijuana market through illegal distribution networks, smuggling operations, or by setting up illicit dispensaries.
  • Money Laundering: They could use the marijuana business as a front for money laundering activities, leveraging the cash-heavy nature of the industry to legitimize illegal funds.
  • Extortion and Protection Rackets: Organized crime groups might engage in extortion or protection rackets targeting legitimate marijuana businesses, especially in regions where law enforcement or regulations are lax.
  • Cultivation and Production: Criminal organizations might operate illegal grow operations or manufacturing facilities, producing marijuana outside the bounds of state regulations and taxation.
  • Investment and Front Companies: Chinese gangsters could potentially invest in or establish front companies within the legal marijuana industry to launder money or control legitimate operations.
Chinese organized crime has dominated much of the illicit marijuana trade across the U.S. All of this of course is aided by the current U.S. immigration policy that endangers Americans every day. According to representatives of the state and federal governments, the mobsters collaborate in a loose but well-organized group that is under the control of mafias with roots in southern China and New York. Triads is a term for these criminal organizations that were once a secret society symbol. They have power at home and in the diaspora, and they are said to have an agreement with the Chinese government.

Since Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for personal use in 2012, a patchwork of marijuana-related legislation has developed across the country. State authorities generally require licenses and put limits on cultivation, and federal law prohibits interstate sales. But steep taxes on legal products and gaps and differences in laws across states have created the conditions for a massive black market to thrive.

Oklahoma has quickly become a top supplier of illicit weed. Although street prices fluctuate and calculating the value of a black market is complex, officials estimate the value of the illegal marijuana grown in the state at somewhere between $18 billion and $44 billion a year. State investigators have found links between foreign mafias and over 3,000 illegal groups, and they say that more than 80% of the criminal groups are of Chinese origin.

Oklahoma drug agents are fighting back against Chinese organized crime that is linked to the illegal marijuana industry.The violence in Kingfisher County gained national attention, showcasing Oklahoma's position as a new and lawless frontier in the marijuana trade.

During an interview, Donnie Anderson, the head of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, stated that Chinese organized crime has "taken over marijuana in Oklahoma and the United States."

A large number of the victims are Chinese immigrants, many of whom were brought across the border from China illegally in order to work on farms that were surrounded by fences, surveillance cameras, and guards armed with firearms and machetes. These immigrants were forced to work in conditions that were frequently harsh. An unfortunate consequence of this form of indentured servitude is that traffickers coerce Chinese immigrant women into prostitution for the benefit of the management of the agricultural labor force.

"It would be unwise to dismiss the fact that the Chinese state is aware of the activities of Chinese organized crime in the U.S.," Anderson stated, "and to deny any association between the Chinese state and organized crime."

In February, a group of 50 U.S. legislators sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, expressing their concerns about Chinese nationals who are allegedly involved in operating numerous illicit marijuana farms throughout the country. The legislators specifically mentioned their worries about potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, which consisted of almost all members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation, inquired about the potential investigation into connections between federal authorities and the marijuana underworld, as well as the amount of illicit revenue that flows back to China.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice stated that they intend to address the inquiries put forth by the legislators. "The Department is currently focused on developing a marijuana enforcement policy that aligns with federal guidance regarding state legalization initiatives," stated Peter Carr, the spokesperson. One of the key focuses of the federal enforcement policy is to ensure that the proceeds from the illegal distribution of marijuana do not end up in the hands of criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.

When asked about Chinese organized crime in the marijuana industry, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., stated in an email that they were not familiar with the details. According to Liu Pengyu, the spokesperson, China is actively engaged in combating drugs, which is considered a universal threat.

In the written statement, Liu emphasized the importance of adhering to local laws and regulations and avoiding any illegal or criminal activities while abroad. The Chinese government is committed to combating drug crimes and actively participating in international anti-drug cooperation. They are dedicated to resolving the drug issue with other countries, including the US, in a proactive and responsible manner.

https://www.citynewstulsa.com/news/...cle_3cb9f472-eac2-11ee-8ca8-2ffa01ed55aa.html
 

Waltercat

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It's good to know that the 'eye are ess' is on top of this and audits them closely. I wonder who does the book keeping for these people.
And 18 to 44 BILLION dollars? In OK only? Seems high. No pun.
 

PBramble

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There was talk of a bill to not allow illegal foreign folks to buy land in Oklahoma. Not sure where it landed. Another to allow the state to reclaim land already purchased.
the issue there is it is directed at the Chinese land owners. But Canada and Italy hold the largest part of the 1.7 million acres of foreign owned land in Oklahoma
 

CHenry

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the issue there is it is directed at the Chinese land owners. But Canada and Italy hold the largest part of the 1.7 million acres of foreign owned land in Oklahoma
It was aimed at any foreign persons unless they are a legal citizen. I need to look it up and see how far it got this last session.
 

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