Two New York men are facing charges after thousands of marijuana plants, with a street value estimated at $3 million, were seized from an illegal cultivation facility in Western Massachusetts, State Police said Thursday.
Yebin Mai, 28, of Staten Island, and Bin Huang, 32, of Brooklyn are due to be arraigned Friday in North Adams District Court, following a lengthy investigation into suspicious activity at a home in Savoy, State Police said.
Police and a federal drug enforcement agent discovered 3,598 marijuana plants, with a total weight of 560 pounds, in the house at 72 Jackson Road, State Police said in a press release.
Mai and Huang were arrested Wednesday, several days after authorities executed a search warrant at the house, but they were not home. They were taken to the State Police barracks in Cheshire. Bail was set at $100,000 each, the release said.
Authorities were alerted of the facility after an Eversource crew responded to a pole outside the house. The crew determined that the wires had been overloaded and damaged by excessive electricity use from the house, State Police said.
When the crew approached the house and informed Mai about the damage, he allegedly said he didn’t speak English and refused to let the workers inside, State Police said. When the crew informed him that they had to shut the power off to conduct a safety check, Mai pulled out an envelope with $100 bills and put it in the vest of one of the linemen, according to the release.
“The Eversource employee attempted to give the money back to MAI, who pushed the lineman’s hand away. At that point the crew decided to leave the power on, leave the property, and request police presence as they felt there was a potential conflict with the resident,” the release said.
The crews inspected the home’s four electrical meters and discovered that the wiring had melted from excessive power use, police said. The home was apparently using $10,000 in electricity every month, State Police said.
Authorities were also able to obtain a search warrant after encountering a light smell of marijuana, hearing fans running inside, noticing that the windows were covered, and finding discarded marijuana roots on the property, according to the release.
Police later determined the home belonged to Huang, police said. State Police and a federal agent searched the home on July 31 and found a room full of marijuana plants organized in rows with lights above them in the cellar, the release said.
They also found a network of lights, chemicals, a sophisticated hydro system and an advanced ventilation system, police said. Five other rooms had “almost every square foot [was] covered with growing marijuana plants,” according to the release.
Authorities are still looking for two other men who were seen in the pickup truck with Mai during his initial encounter with police, State Police said.