Police Suspect Massive Church Marijuana Operation Was Run By Chinese Foreign National

55-year-old Ruian Huang arrested for running massive grow operation out of a Tennessee church
Ruian Huang
Credit: Stewart County Sheriff’s Office.

The man who was arrested last month for operating a massive marijuana grow house in rural Tennessee is a foreign national from China, law enforcement officials told The Daily Wire on Friday. 

On November 30, the sheriff’s office in Stewart County announced that it had shut down “the largest marijuana grow in county history.” The bust made national news due to several extraordinary factors — not only was the sophisticated growing operation run out of a church, but the grounds were “booby-trapped” in expectation of law enforcement. 

Now The Daily Wire can confirm that the sheriff’s office named its suspect, 55-year-old Ruian Huang, a foreign national who is believed to be from China. The sheriff’s office told The Daily Wire that Huang was in the United States on a green card, but could not confirm whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had become involved in the case.

According to the county’s inmate database, Huang is being held on various drug charges, including maintaining a dwelling for growing a controlled substance. His bond is currently set at $155,000.

The arrest comes as illegal Chinese-backed marijuana operations have cropped up across the United States, including major drug busts in New Mexico and Maine, where Border Patrol has reportedly identified up to 270 illegal marijuana grow operations throughout Maine that are worth billions. 

The bust in Stewart County, which borders Kentucky, was a combined operation of the sheriff’s department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and was the result of a three week investigation.

Church where marijuana was grown. Stewart’s Sheriff’s Office.

The bust took place at an old church in Indian Mound, an unincorporated community that is home to about 3,000 people. The property, which is worth around 93,000 appears to be owned by Chen Xiu Ping, as The Daily Mail first reported

Sophisticated grow operation in rural Tennessee. Credit: Stewart’s Sheriff’s Office.

When the search was conducted approximately 2000 plants were found in a very sophisticated growing environment. Including elaborated growing and watering systems all on timers. A large amount of possibly toxic chemicals were found,” the sheriff’s office said. “Officers were also slowed down in the search by the possibility of booby traps laid out for law enforcement.”

ICE did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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