Marijuana Growers Charged with Bribery Conspiracy

A Minnesota brother and sister have been charged in a federal indictment Thursday with conspiracy to bribe the sheriff of Siskiyou County to help in their marijuana operation.

Chi Meng Yang, 31, and his sister, Gaosheng Laitinen, 36, were charged in a four-count indictment of meeting with Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey in Yreka and offering him $1 million in exchange for his help with their marijuana distribution business.

Lopey immediately contacted the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and continued to meet with Yang, collecting audio and videotape.

In subsequent meetings, Yang told Lopey his offer of $1 million depended on Yang securing and profiting from out-of-state marijuana licenses. He and Laitinen allegedly promised to pay the sheriff $80,000 if he would exempt eight properties from the Siskiyou County ban against outdoor marijuana grows.

The government alleges that Yang and Laitinen made several payments totaling $10,500 in cash.  The funds were seized as evidence by the FBI, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert in Sacramento.

Both are set to be arraigned on the indictment on Friday in Sacramento.



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