DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that Zhiming Wang, age 26, a Chinese national and a lawful permanent residence of the U.S., was sentenced today to serve 14 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for maintaining a drug involved premises related to the cultivation of marijuana. The defendant lived in Commerce City, Colorado. The Denver Division of the DEA joined in today’s announcement.
According to the stipulated facts contained in Wang’s plea agreement, on January 31, 2019, agents with the DEA and partner law enforcement agencies, uncovered a marijuana grow with 809 marijuana plants in various stages of maturity after executing a search warrant at his Commerce City residence. Additionally, agents found approximately one-half pound of finished marijuana product in the residence.
It was determined that the defendant established the marijuana grow for the purpose of selling it for profit. Further investigation revealed that Mr. Wang resided at the Commerce City residence since November 2016. Electric power for the residence was subscribed to the defendant since November 1, 2016. Power usage records indicate that, during the time period from September 2017 to November 2018, the residence used between 2,505 kWh and 16,059 kWh per month, which was far in excess of the normal usage of between 500 kWh to 1,500 kWh for a residence. The power use revealed that the defendant was cultivating marijuana during a substantial number of months between September 2017 and November 2018.
“The cultivation of marijuana is a violation of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Mr. Wang grew marijuana in a residential neighborhood without concern for the consequences. He was caught and is now paying the price.”
“The case against Mr. Wang is yet another in a long list of examples of criminals using the Colorado state marijuana laws to hide their activities for profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter. “DEA will continue to investigate and prosecute criminals and organizations who exploit conflicts between the law and take advantage of our communities.”
The prosecution of Mr. Wang is part of a significant operation into the production and distribution of black market marijuana, first announced on May 24, 2019. (https://www.justice.gov/usao-co/pr/forty-two-individuals-arrested-one-largest-black-market-marijuana-takedowns-colorado)
He appeared at the sentencing hearing free on bond, and was ordered to report to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons by August 21, 2020.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. Related court documents can be found on PACER by searching for Case Number 19-cr-195. Mr. Wang was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron M. Teitelbaum.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.