Electrical issue leads to discovery of multi-million-dollar marijuana operation in Massachusetts

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SAVOY, Mass. (WWLP) — Excessive use of electricity led to the discovery of a multi-million-dollar illegal marijuana-growing operation in Massachusetts, according to police.

Two suspects, 32-year-old Bin Huang and 28-year-old Yebin Mai, both from New York, were being arraigned Friday.

The Massachusetts State Police said crews with Eversource Energy were called to a home for an electrical problem July 29. Police said they believe the house was using $10,000 worth of electricity every month, which overloaded and damaged the wires.

Police were called because a man in the house, later identified as Mai, of Staten Island, was not cooperating with Eversource crews as they tried to address the problem.

An Eversource lineman tried to explain to a resident, who said he did not speak English, that the power needed to be shut off and the home’s electrical hookups needed to be inspected.

Police said Mai gave the lineman an envelope with $100 bills inside. When the lineman tried to give it back, Mai pushed his hand away, police said. The Eversource crew eventually left the residence with the power still on and called police.

When police arrived, a white 2019 Ford pickup with New York license plates attempted to leave the property. Mai was identified as the driver. There were also two other men in the truck. The police eventually allowed the men to leave.

Eversource turned off the power after inspecting the home’s four electric meters. They found melted wiring and burn marks on the wood-encased meters.

Police returned with a search warrant on July 31, and authorities found 3,598 marijuana plants inside the house, weighing 560 pounds, with an estimated street value of over $3 million.

The cellar was equipped with a “sophisticated hydro system” full of marijuana plants with lights, chemicals and a ventilation system. More marijuana plants were found in the house.

Mai was arrested along with the owner of the home, 32-year-old Huang of Brooklyn, on multiple drug charges.

According to State Police, troopers at the house noticed the smell of marijuana and the sound of fans running in the residence. They also saw covered windows and no visible ventilation outlets. In the backyard were large fluorescent light fixtures and planters.

Troopers also found what they determined to be discarded marijuana roots nearby.

Both Mai and Huang were being held on $100,000 bail.

Over 4,100 marijuana plants discovered in Massachusetts homes

On July 29, two people were arrested on separate marijuana-related charges in Massachusetts. Weiqing Li, 41, and Li Qin Li, 49, were charged with manufacturing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute in connection with multiple illegal marijuana growing facilities in Monson and Palmer.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 8, 2020)

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