Trial and sentencing a first following massive marijuana investigation announced in May of 2019

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that Huanyu Yan, 54, and wife You Lan Xiang, 50, both of Aurora, Colo., were sentenced earlier this week for their role in a large-scale residential black market marijuana grow. Mr. Yan was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, and his wife, Xiang, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Both were found guilty in December of 2019 of marijuana cultivation following a four-day jury trial. Yan and Xiang appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and were remanded at its conclusion. DEA Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter joined in this announcement.

According to court documents as well as evidence presented at trial, on Oct. 10, 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration, North Metro Task Force, and the Aurora Police Department executed a federal search warrant at 20050 East Doane Drive, a single family home in a residential neighborhood in Aurora. A search of the house revealed a large-scale illicit marijuana grow operation in the basement of the house, with 878 marijuana plants. The basement also contained 9.72 pounds of finished marijuana product. According to testimony at trial, the yield of all the plants in the basement would have been enough to create approximately 150,000 marijuana joints. Both defendants were convicted of 1) conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants; 2) possessing with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants; and 3) using and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

“These defendants turned their family home into a full-scale drug manufacturing facility,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “As the first to be sentenced in this operation, I hope it sends a message to anyone involved in black market marijuana production that we will catch them, prosecute them, and send them to prison.”

“This federal and state joint investigation targeted individuals seeking to profit from the illicit production and distribution of marijuana,” said Special Agent in Charge Reuter. “This conviction serves as a message to all individuals who are seeking to profit from the illicit sale of marijuana; they can and will be held accountable for their actions.”

These defendants were the first to be sentenced in what was a massive investigation into the production and distribution of black market marijuana. In total, 255 houses were searched with over 80,000 marijuana plants and 4,500 pounds of finished marijuana product seized.

This case was investigated by the DEA, North Metro Task Force, and the Aurora Police Department. The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron Teitelbaum and Peter McNeilly.