Search warrants lead to 11 arrests in Linn, Benton, Marion counties

A money laundering scheme involving local restaurants and an illegal marijuana grow resulted in the arrests of 11 people, authorities said Wednesday.

Posted: Mar 25, 2021 3:16 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2021 3:24 PM

ALBANY, Ore. – A money laundering scheme involving local restaurants and an illegal marijuana grow resulted in the arrests of 11 people, authorities said Wednesday.

The investigation focused on the illegal manufacture of marijuana in Linn County, and money laundering through local restaurants in Linn, Benton and Marion counties. As a result of the warrants investigators seized cocaine, more than 1,900 marijuana plants, 40 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $373,000 in cash, as well as guns and several vehicles.

Capt. Jerry Drum of the Albany Police Department said investigators are not releasing the names of the restaurants that were involved due to an ongoing investigation, and also to protect the safety of  restaurant employees who were not involved in criminal activity.

Authorities served five search warrants at two locations in Linn County, one location in Benton County, and two in Marion County. The warrants were served by the Linn Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Task Force.

The following people were arrested during the search warrants on March 17, and taken to Linn County Jail:

• Yue “Michael” Chong Chen, 41, of Salem – Racketeering, Money Laundering, Criminal Conspiracy and Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Yongkang Chen, 36, of Salem – Racketeering, Money Laundering, Criminal Conspiracy and Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Enrong Zhou, 40, of Albany – Racketeering, Money Laundering, Criminal Conspiracy and Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Yaorun Li, 27, of Lebanon – Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana, Criminal Conspiracy.

• Guiqua Chen, 33, of Renton, Wash. – Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana, Money Laundering, Racketeering, Identity Theft, Conspiracy.

• Pinzheng Zhao, 39, of Sweet Home – Identity Theft, Racketeering, Money Laundering, Criminal Conspiracy and Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Jinhui Liu, 28, of Portland – Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Liang Huan Chen, 65, of Salem – Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Jianwen Zhu, 52, of San Francisco, Calif. – Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Rongchu Mai, 52, of old San Francisco, Calif. – Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

• Weihong Gong, 56, of San Francisco, Calif. – Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and Abet Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.

The following agencies participated in the investigation and search warrant service: Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Albany Police Department, Lebanon Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Sweet Home Police Department, Linn Regional SWAT, Corvallis Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Philomath Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations assisted in the investigation and search warrant service. The Benton County Health Department assisted with local restaurant health code violations.

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