SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY – The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges on eleven defendants in connection to an industrial sized subterranean illegal marijuana grow in the City of Newberry Springs, a processing warehouse, and other properties used in conjunction with the selling, manufacturing and distribution of illegal cannabis.

Timeline of Events

In August 20, 2020, a search warrant was served on an illegal cannabis grow located in the City of Newberry Springs. The property owner at the time was Cheng Lin (30). Deputies observed a single-story residence on the property, located eight greenhouses, over 2,000 live cannabis plants and over one hundred pounds of processed marijuana.

Detained at the property were additional defendants Zhonggui He (59) , and Wenren He (42).

On November 19th 2020, Cheng Lin sold the Newberry Springs property to Qiao Yan Liu (35).

On March 3rd, 2022, just over a year and a half from the time Cheng Lin sold the property to Qiao Yan Liu, deputies from San Bernardino County Sheriffs Marijuana Enforcement Team again served a search warrant on the same property in Newberry Springs. During the search eight additional suspects attempted to flee and were detained at the property.

They observing the same single-story residence, several sheds on the property and a single conex box.

Upon searching the Conex box deputies discovered the floor opened and were able to descend into an underground bunker. The bunker was 230 feet in length by 60 feet in width. It was constructed with over 30 Conex boxes approximately 15 feet below the ground.

The square footage of the underground grow approximated 14,000 square feet, and in total over 6,000 marijuana plants were located.

On the property deputies located twenty 275 gallon cubes of fuel and three large generators which were housed inside a storage shed.

Storage shed that housed generators, with what appears to be a makeshift ventilation system.

In regards to further environmental impact, it is estimated that it takes 1 gal. of water per plant per day, indicating the minimum water usage of a grow this size would be at least 6,000 gallons of water daily, during a southern California drought.

A cultivation this size could produce over 3,000 pounds of processed marijuana, with black market prices that amount of marijuana is valued anywhere between $4.6 million and $9 million dollars.

Upon further investigation, processed marijuana was found in the residence of Cheng Lin, as well as a commercial lease agreement in Cheng Lin’s name, for a commercial building in which law enforcement found numerous items used for the cultivation of marijuana and over two hundred pounds of marijuana product.

Charges Filed

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office has formally filed the following charges:

Against Zhong Gui He, Wenren He, and Cheng Lin, counts one and two;

One felony count of Health and Safety Code Section 11358(d)(3) – Cultivating More Than Six Marijuana Plants With Concurrent Violation of Environmental Law, and one misdemeanor count of Health and Safety Code Section 11359(b) Possession of Marijuana For Sale.

Counts three and four; against Weijian Liu, Qiaoyan Liu, Aiqing Lin, Zhonggui He, Wenren He, Wu Lin, Lijie Lin, Bin Li, Huang Lin , Mingfeng Heand Cheng Linboth felony counts of Cultivating More Than Six Marijuana Plants With Concurrent Violation of Environmental Law and further alleging illegal discharge of waste and intentionally and with gross negligence causing substantial harm to public lands and other public resources.

All above defendants were charged in count five, Health and Safety Code Section 11359(b) : misdemeanor possession of Marijuana for sale.

Our final count six, defendants Qiao Yan Liu and Cheng Lin, as landowners, have been charged with felony PC 182(a)(1) Conspiracy to Commit a Crime.

Case Update

On Friday May 20, 2022, five of the defendants were arrested, and bail was set at $25,000, substantially below bail schedule. In opposition, our Office has requested the Court put a 1275.1 hold on the bail. PC 1275.1 is used to place a hold on the defendant’s bail because there is reason to believe that the money being used for the bail was generated by the commission of a felony.

All defendants in custody are set for come before a judge for the 1275.1 bail hearing Friday, May 27, 2022 at Victorville Courthouse dept. V9 at 08:30am.