SUBMITTED BY The Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District
Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties
At a news conference June 10, the District Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial District, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations announced the grand jury indictments of 21 people in connection with a year-long investigation into a large money-laundering conspiracy.
The 45-count indictment from the 18th Judicial District Grand Jury outlines how the defendants illegally grew marijuana and laundered their drug proceeds through a sophisticated system of social media apps, QR codes and illegal money brokers in China. The defendants grew and distributed the marijuana throughout the Denver metro area, with grows and stash houses across Colorado.
“This elaborate scheme and subsequent indictment is an example of why I moved to support an Organized Crime Unit when I took office,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “These conspirators undermine law and order as well as community safety. My unit will continue to work with local, state and federal partners to prosecute these criminal networks.”
“I would like to applaud the hard work and professionalism of all our partners in the Front Range Task Force,” said Deanne Reuter, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Denver Field Division. “This was a complex criminal operation that could only have been brought down by the cooperation of all agencies involved.”
“The defendants in this case are alleged to have gone to great lengths to carry out their sophisticated money laundering conspiracy to fund illegal activity, and they will now face justice for their crimes,” said Steven Cagen, special agent in charge, HSI Denver. “HSI is proud to work with the 18th Judicial District Attorney and the DEA on investigations like these to disrupt the flow of illicit proceeds used in illegal narcotics activity and we will continue to pursue transnational criminal organizations that seek to harm the residents of Colorado.”
In addition to the DA’s office, DEA, HSI and members of the Front Range Task Force, special assistance was provided by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado National Guard, Firestone Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Haskell County (Okla.) Sheriff’s Office, Denver Police Department, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Mountain View Police Department. Numerous other law enforcement agencies provided assistance to the task force at various times over the course of the investigation.
These are the defendants, who will be prosecuted in Arapahoe County District Court:
- Lin Zhang, 2021CR1188
- Yan Chen, 2021CR1189
- Cindy Zheng, 2021CR1190
- Weilun Zhang, 2021CR1191
- Xin He, 2021CR1192
- A Wei Chen, 2021CR1193
- Kui Chen, 2021CR1194
- Guo Cai Chen, 2021CR1195
- Chun Jin Lin, 20221CR1196
- He Xian Chen, 2021CR1197
- Guo Li Liu, 2021CR1198
- Yan Zhang Liu, 2021CR1199
- Gaoyu Chen, 2021CR1200
- Lan Fang Wu, 2021CR1201
- Pin Chen, 2021CR1202
- Guo Fu Chen, 2021CR1203
- Wei Lian Fu, 2021CR1204
- Yunrong Liu, 2021CR1205
- Xiaohui Tang, 2021CR1206
- Lin Chen, 2021CR1207
- Zhu Zhu Chen, 2021CR1208
Charges range from racketeering and conspiracy under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act to drug cultivation and distribution to money laundering. The top counts are Class 2 felonies.
Criminal charges are merely a formal accusation that an individual has committed a crime. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.