CHESTERFIELD – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Chesterfield Police Chief Kyle Wilson announced that a Brooklyn man has been charged with running a large-scale marijuana growing operation at a township farm.
Weiming Liu, 57, was charged with Manufacturing Marijuana in a Quantity of 25 Pounds or More (First Degree) and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree). He was taken into custody on January 26 during a motor vehicle stop in Bordentown Township.
Liu was released following a first appearance yesterday in Superior Court in Mount Holly. The charges against him will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier, supervisor of the BCPO Gang, Gun, and Narcotics Task Force.
The investigation began after the owner of the property, located in the 100 block of Chesterfield-Crosswicks Road, applied to the township for a tax assessment reduction under the New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act.
The application was rejected after a peripheral inspection of the property by the municipal tax assessor determined it was not being used for farming or agricultural purposes. The landowner appealed, and a subsequent, more detailed on-site inspection led to the discovery of the marijuana growing operation.
“We appreciate the tax assessor living up to the important motto, ‘If you see something, say something,’” Prosecutor Coffina said. “His information directly led to the interdiction of this substantial illegal drug operation.”
More than 500 mature plants were discovered growing in greenhouses, pole barns and other buildings on the property. The estimated street value of marijuana is nearly $725,000. More than 1,000 seedlings were also found, many of which were aided by a lighting and heating system to promote faster growth.
Liu leased the land from the owner, who has not been charged in connection with the illegal activity being conducted on her property.
The investigation was conducted by the BCPO GGNTF, with assistance from the Chesterfield Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the Bordentown City Police Department and the Bordentown Township Police Department.