Oregon Properties Worth $5.7 Million Seized in Marijuana Trafficking Case

Oregon Properties Worth $5.7 Million Seized in Marijuana Trafficking Case

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon forfeited 14 properties in Oregon totaling more than $5.7 million. The premises were utilized to unlawfully produce marijuana for redistribution and sale in other states, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

In addition, rather than forfeiting their land, the owner of the fifteenth property will pay the government $400,000.

From an unknown time until September 2021, a drug trafficking group used properties in Clatsop, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties as illicit marijuana grow houses.

Fayao “Paul” Rong, 53, of Houston, Texas, commanded the interstate organization. Rong was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and five years on supervised release in July 2023.

“This prosecution and yearslong effort to forfeit properties used by the Rong organization to grow and process thousands of pounds of marijuana demonstrates the long reach of our commitment to holding drug traffickers accountable and mitigating the damage these criminal organizations inflict on neighborhoods and communities,” Natalie Wight, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said in a press release.

Rong purchased numerous residential properties in Oregon under various identities. He and others in his group used them to cultivate marijuana and transport it to places where it has not been approved for sale.

During the 12 months beginning in August 2020, the group traded more than $13.2 million in black-market marijuana.

Law enforcement initiated action against Rong’s organization in September 2021. It executed search warrants on 25 Oregon properties, as well as Rong’s Houston home. According to the announcement, the investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 33,000 marijuana plants, 1,800 pounds of packed marijuana, 23 guns, nine vehicles, $20,000 in money orders, and over $591,000.

The investigation was launched when numerous houses used excessive electricity, resulting in transformer explosions.

Citizens reported that they believed the houses were being used for black-market marijuana activity.

Law enforcement discovered marijuana crops in Clatsop, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, and Polk counties. Rong was detained in Houston in February 2022.

Proceeds from forfeited assets are directed to the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF). The AFF uses that money to reimburse crime victims and for other law enforcement objectives.

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