Multiple properties throughout northern Maine suspected of being part of the network of illegal Chinese marijuana growing operations were raided Friday morning by multiple Maine law enforcement agencies, including the Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Somerset County Sheriff’s Offices.
The Maine Wire has learned of police responses at suspected blackmarket marijuana sites in Corinna, Sangerville, Mercer, and Guilford.
A massive police response occurred Friday morning at 9 St. Albans Road in Corinna. We can also confirm that raids occurred in Guilford on Route 15 (Water Street), at 8 Manhanock Pond Rd in Sangerville, and at 204 Rome Road in Mercer.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was the owner of a massive house in the center of Corinna, Maine before it was sold to “336 Apex LLC” and subsequently became a sophisticated black market marijuana growing and trafficking operation.
According to the Maine Secretary of State’s records, 336 Apex LLC was registered Nov. 18, 2020 to Wen Hui Li, who provided the St. Alban’s road residence as the address for the corporate entity.
The Penobscot County Registry of Deeds shows that the house was foreclosed upon by by Pingora Loan Servicing in Nov. 2020 before being transferred to the U.S. federal government in an all cash deal.
HUD sold the property for $140,000 to 336 Apex LLC on March 12, 2021.
Tramp King, the Town Manager of nearby Dexter, confirmed in a phone interview that he was aware of the Corinna raid. Although he did not say how many marijuana plants were seized in the bust, he did say the drug material was going to be ground up and composted at the municipal waste transfer station on the Dexter-Corinna line.
King said he was aware of multiple similar operations in his own town and has complained for more than a year to Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy.
“They said, ‘We know about em, we’re watching them’,” King said.
“My only concern is, I’d hate to see these houses get empty and sit vacant,” King said.
That’s not the only Maine property owned by Wen Hui Li.
In 2023, Li purchased a Garland property at 1056 Dover Road (State Rt. 7) from Yuan Hui Chen, of Brooklyn, NY.
Li purchased the property under his own name rather than an LLC.
Li did not respond to a phone call seeking comment on the raid.
According to public records, Li has previously lived in Las Vegas and San Francisco.
At the time Li registered 336 Apex, he listed his address as 113 Cross Road in Stetson.
That property in Stetson was purchased in Feb. 2021 under the name of 113 Apple Inc, a Maine-registered LLC with an address at 1521 70th St., #B1, Brooklyn, N.Y.
According to the Maine Secretary of State’s records, 113 Apple Inc was registered in Nov. 2020 under the name of Larry Zhao.
“Larry Zhao” also happens to be the name of the individual who purchased a property at 38 Tripp Road in Ripley.
The Maine Wire has visited that property multiple times and observed the telltale signs of a marijuana grow, including an abundance of heat pumps, recent electrical upgrades, and the odor of marijuana.
In addition, electrical contractors familiar with Zhao and the property have confirmed that, shortly after he purchased the property, he solicited help installing an electrical capacity for the home that far exceeded what is normally required of a mobile home.
The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office raided the Corinna property Friday morning in conjunction with multiple other state and local law enforcement agencies.
Additional raids have been observed by social media users and tipsters Thursday morning in Guilford, Sebec, and Sangerville.
Photographs provided by a Maine Wire reader show a major police response at 522 Water St. in Guilford. The tipster also observed hazmat crews and the fire department responding.
The property was purchased in cash in April 2021 by Yuanwei Huang, 39, of Quincy, Mass.
A comparison of pictures taken this morning versus pictures from the real estate listing show that Huang had a beefier electrical meter installed in order to accommodate the increased power consumption.
Residents of Sangerville confirmed a large police response at a residence at 8 Manhanock Pond Rd in Sangerville. That property was purchased in June 2021 under the name of an LLC, “934 Real Property, LLC”.
That LLC was registered in the state of New York in March 2021 under the names Xin Chi Xu, 53, and Xing Xiu Guan, 56, using an address at a $1.1M townhouse in Brooklyn.
Phone calls placed to numbers available for Xu and Guan were either not answered or reached disconnected lines.
The Maine Wire learned of a fourth bust in Mercer Friday afternoon at 204 Rome Road.
That property was purchased in 2020 by Yong Yuan Wu, 43, of Brooklyn, using a Quontic Bank mortgage originated by Ying-Chan Weng.
Over the past three months, Maine law enforcement has conducted raids in Wilton, Chelsea, Whitefield, Jefferson, Belgrade, China, Machias, Norridgewock and Cornville; however, those raids have only scratched the surface of the vast organized crime network that has proliferated in rural Maine since 2020.
According to a leaked Department of Homeland Security memo, originally reported by Jennie Taer of the Daily Caller News Foundation, there are more than 270 such locations in Maine — more than 200 of which I’ve been identified by the Maine Wire.
We will update this story as new information becomes available.
In the meantime, you can follow our investigative series into Chinese-controlled marijuana cultivation and trafficking here.