Three charged in Canadian County marijuana grow

OBN investigates attorneys setting up ‘illegal owners’

Yukon Review, Yukon Progress, Medical Marijuana

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Three people have been accused of violating state law in an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics investigation into an Okarche marijuana grow operation.

Okarche’s Jeison J. Portuguez Valverde, 29; Okarche’s Zhi Yu (Tony) Liu, 47; and Sacramento, Calif.’s Co Vi (Richard) Trinh, 46; were formally charged July 11 in Canadian County District Court with three counts:

  • Cultivation of controlled substance.
  • Maintaining place for keeping/selling controlled substance.
  • Possession of controlled dangerous substance without tax stamp affixed.

Count one is a felony punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000.

Count two is a felony punishable by not more than five years in prison and a fine not more than $10,000.

Count three is a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Assistant District Attorney Walter Mengden has accused Valverde, Liu and Trinh of “cultivating marijuana, botanically known as cannabis sativa L.” at a building in Okarche in violation of Oklahoma’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

The three men illegally possessed the marijuana without affixing the “appropriate tax stamp,” according to charging documents.

Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agents and Canadian County sheriff’s deputies on June 27 executed a search warrant at the active marijuana grow in the 14300 block of Evans Road in Okarche.

Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse authorized the warrant.

OBN agent Daniel Peterson learned about the operation “during an investigation involving attorneys setting up illegal owners of marijuana grows,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

The Okarche marijuana grow was “set up illegally circumventing Oklahoma state law,” Peterson wrote in the court document.

Registered owners are Oklahoma and New York residents.



In April, the OBN agent said he went to the Evans Road address and saw what looked like a marijuana grow without the required OBN registration to lawfully manufacture medical marijuana.

Peterson reportedly noticed two metal buildings with several air conditioners and outside vents, and he could smell marijuana in the air around them.

After locating growing marijuana plants and documenting several violations during a “new applicant” inspection of the Okarche facility, Peterson obtained the search warrant for June 27.

Valverde, Liu and Trinh were detained when OBN agents and sheriff’s deputies entered the building that morning.

“I saw outside the grow facility several bags of marijuana plants that were dried up and dead, signs of a prior harvest,” according to Peterson’s affidavit. “I found 120 mature marijuana plants that were beginning to bud/flower, which were in rooms attached to the bedrooms, kitchen and offices inside the illegal grow facility which is in violation of Oklahoma state law.

“I saw no tax stamps affixed to any of the 120 marijuana plants which is violation of Oklahoma state statute.”

OBN seized $5,680 in cash – allegedly derived from drug proceeds in violation of state law – that was in Liu’s and Valverde’s bedrooms.

Canadian County Special Judge David H. Halley issued warrants for all three defendants’ arrests. Bonds total $61,000 on the three counts.