4 Chinese Nationals Arrested In $22 Million Georgia Marijuana Bust

Four citizens of China were arrested in rural Georgia last week after a four-week investigation into an alleged food manufacturing facility that was found to be a massive indoor marijuana growing operation.

Authorities found and seized over 11,000 plants in various stages of growth, valued at around $22 million, and estimated that the operation had been active since 2022.

The facility was in Pierce County, in the southern part of Georgia. This is the largest drug case in the county’s history.

Zhu Sheng Bing, Jinpeng Ma, Chenhui Shu, and Wei Sheng Deng were arrested last week. Deng was the only one of the four in the country illegally and was detained by ICE.

The growing operation was notably high-tech, with serious financial investment into systems like grow lights and tailwater recovery.

Other illegal Chinese-backed marijuana operations have made headlines recently in places like Colorado, Maine, and Tennessee, leading some to wonder if larger forces may be at play.

The operation is suspected to be part of a much larger drug ring, with evidence suggesting the marijuana was shipped out of state, with links to Huston and New York. Whether this investigation will lead to more arrests is yet to be seen.

“What we found was a very high-tech growing operation utilizing electric lighting, and they were watering by hand and had a tailwater recovery system so that any excess water where they watered the plants was recovered and then put back in their holding facility and used again,” Sheriff Ramsey Bennett said about the site.

Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Tyler Harper added, “This was a very sophisticated operation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure in the facility and, as the sheriff mentioned, ties back to New York and Houston, which is indicative of a national crime syndicate.”

The FBI and DEA have also been involved with the case.

In addition to footage from the scene, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office have published a joint press conference regarding the bust on YouTube: