$3M illegal marijuana grow operation busted in the Berkshires

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SAVOY, Mass. (WWLP) — Excessive use of electricity led to the discovery of a multi-million dollar illegal marijuana growing operation in Savoy, according to Massachusetts State Police.

The owner of the home, Bin Huang, 32, of Brooklyn, and Yebin Mai, 28, of Staten Island, were arrested on multiple drug charges late last week. Both are being held on $100,000 bail and are scheduled to be arraigned in North Adams District Court Friday.

State Police told sister station 22News that Eversource utility crews were called to a home in Berkshire County for an electrical problem on July 29. They believe the house was using $10,000 worth of electricity every month, which overloaded and damaged the wires by excessive use.

Police were called because a man in the house—later identified as Yebin Mai—was not cooperating with Eversource to address the problem. Police say the Eversource lineman made several attempts to explain to a resident, who claimed he did not speak English, that they needed to shut off the power so the home’s electrical hookups could be inspected.

According to police, Mai gave the lineman an envelope with $100 bills inside. The lineman tried to give it back, but Mai pushed his hand away. The Eversource crew decided to leave the residence, left the power on, and called the police.

When police arrived, they stopped a white 2019 Ford pickup with a New York license plates from leaving. The driver was identified as Mai by his New York driver’s license. Two other men were also in the truck.

Eversource turned off the power after inspecting the home’s four electric meters, revealing melted wiring and fresh burn marks caused by excessive power draws. The police let the men leave.

Around the exterior of the house, Massachusetts State Police say they observed:

  • A slight smell of freshly grown marijuana, which grew stronger when the power was cut
  • No visible ventilation outlets, but the sound of many fans running inside stopped when the power was cut
  • All windows covered with closed curtains and what appeared to be plywood
  • Extensive debris from renovations, including large green planter pots and large florescent light fixtures
  • Cameras at entrances and exits
  • A path into the woods leading to a large pile of used potting soil in the shape of large pots
  • Discarded marijuana roots and stalks in the soil from old plants

Police executed a search warrant on July 31 with the State Police Detective Unit, a State Police regional drug task force, and the DEA. They found 3,598 marijuana plants inside the house, weighing 560 pounds, with an estimated street value of over $3 million dollars. No one was home at the time.

The cellar was equipped with a “sophisticated hydro system” full of marijuana plants with lights, chemicals, and a ventilation system. More marijuana plants were found in the house.

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