An Antioch man has been sentenced in federal court in Oakland to 10 years in prison for conspiring to cultivate marijuana plants at three grow houses in Contra Costa County. Peng Li, 29, was sentenced Jan. 18 by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton. He was convicted in Hamilton’s court in September of one count of conspiring to grow and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants and a second count of growing and distributing more than 1,000 plants.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said evidence at the trial showed that Li and his associates operated three indoor grow houses in neighborhoods in Antioch, Pinole and Bay Point, as well as a marijuana processing facility in Oakland. Haag said witnesses testified that the group cultivated more than 3,000 plants over several growing cycles.
The group rented the houses, constructed electrical bypasses to power their growing lights with stolen electricity, and destroyed walls and ceilings to construct ventilation and watering systems, Haag said. Prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that Li was the leader of the seven-member group, known as “The Company.”
Li’s defense attorney argued that he was not a leader but rather an equal member. Haag said, “Indoor marijuana grow operations are illegal under federal law. “Moreover, they threaten the safety of our residential neighborhoods by greatly increasing the risk of burglaries, environmental damage and fires,” the U.S. attorney said.
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