Couple gets 2-3 years in prison for growing enough weed to roll 150k joints in south Aurora home

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Marijuana plants line a driveway outside a home in southeast Aurora after a massive DEA raid on homes across the city in Oct. 10, 2018 PHOTO BY QUINCY SNOWDON

AURORA | A husband and wife from Aurora have each been sentenced to several years in federal prison for growing hundreds of marijuana plants in their south Aurora home.

A federal judge on Monday sentenced Huanyu Yan, 54 and You Lan Xiang, 50, to three years and two and a half years, respectively, in federal prison for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, possessing more than 100 marijuana plants and maintaining a drug-involved premises, according to the local U.S. Attorney’s Office. Yan and Xiang were found guilty following a four-day trial late last year.

Federal authorities and investigators with the Aurora Police Department recovered 878 marijuana plants and almost 10 pounds of cured weed in the basement of the couple’s home at 20050 E. Doane Drive after executing a search warrant there Oct. 10, 2018.

The plants would have yielded enough product to roll approximately 150,000 joints, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“These defendants turned their family home into a full-scale drug manufacturing facility,” U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn said in a statement. 

Per state law, Colorado residents are permitted to grow up to 12 marijuana plants per residence, barring special circumstances. The prior household limit had been six plants per resident over the age of 21, although a new state law caps the number of plants per home at a dozen, regardless of how many people are living in the dwelling.

Yan and Xiang were among dozens of black market marijuana cultivators implicated in widespread illegal distribution after federal agents raided dozens of homes in late 2018. More than 250 homes across the metroplex were ultimately searched, with more than 80,000 marijuana plants and 4,500 pounds of finished weed recovered. 

“This federal and state joint investigation targeted individuals seeking to profit from the illicit production and distribution of marijuana,” Deanne Reuter,  Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement. “This conviction serves as a message to all individuals who are seeking to profit from the illicit sale of marijuana; they can and will be held accountable for their actions.”