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Oklahoma Marijuana Farm Murders

by Will Long

December 20, 2022

Chen Wu, a Chinese citizen, had invested $300,000 in a marijuana farm in Oklahoma. On November 20, 2022, Wu walked into a garage and shot one of his farm workers in the leg. He then told other workers to return his investment within 30 minutes, or he would kill them. They could not immediately fulfill the request. Police said Wu executed four of the farm workers, who were also all Chinese citizens.

Unbeknownst to Wu, some of the slayings were also caught on camera. Law enforcement just needed to catch up to the killer and find out what the story was. The chase was on to solve an international criminal conspiracy.

Cheap Capital and Criminal Cannabis

In 2018, Oklahomans voted to legalize medical marijuana. The state then spun up an approval process for being able to grow marijuana for medical use. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority was founded and began acting as the regulatory agency in charge of licensing farms. Despite the approval process being put in place, there were still fewer licensing restrictions than other states with legal medical marijuana. This unfortunately allowed outside investors with access to cheap capital to pour resources in the state and engage in both illegal and legal business practices.

Fast-forwarding to September of this year, Oklahoma state legislators proposed legal action be taken to rein in the possibility that foreign companies were investing in shady ways around the state through the medical marijuana business. Based on this story, it appears they were correct, with some foreign investors becoming increasingly engaged in criminal, mafia-like behavior.

The Decline and Fall of Chen Wu

Eyewitnesses to the murders and those who were acquainted with Wu helped investigators create an impressionistic portrait of him. Who was this man and why did he want to kill marijuana farmers? What was this “investment” that Wu spoke of? His history and backstory are hazy. Here’s what we know so far.

One year before the killings, Wu had worked on the farm as an employee himself. He was 45 and was looking to get involved in the medical marijuana business as more than a farmhand. The farm where the murders took place, a 10-acre plot west of Hennessey, Oklahoma, was a medical marijuana farm operating with an illegally obtained license—exactly the kind of enterprise that Oklahoma lawmakers suggested was becoming an issue in the state.

After committing the execution-style murders, Wu fled the scene immediately. Over the course of two days, he sped Southeast towards Miami, where a state car tag reader flagged his approximate location in a federal law enforcement database. Wu was cornered and caught in Florida on November 22, just two days later.

Chen Wu will be charged with murder and shooting with intent to kill, facing extradition across state lines, right back into Oklahoma law enforcement’s hands. The only investment Wu made successfully is an investment into his future through his actions—a future behind bars.

Learn More

For those who struggle with a substance use disorder, there is hope. Landmark Recovery of Oklahoma City is working to help lift up those who need it most in the state of Oklahoma. Call 888-448-0302 today to speak with one of our dedicated admissions specialists. They’ll walk you through all the necessary steps to get you the treatment you deserve and get your life back. We’re on a mission to save a million lives in the next century, starting with those in our very own Oklahoma City backyard. Let us help you unlock your potential.

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About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.