GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former metro Grand Rapids man, his family members and several other people are accused of running an interstate drug conspiracy, allegedly moving illegal marijuana through Michigan, Oklahoma and other states.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Oklahoma on May 2 lists the defendants as Naigang Lin (the accused ringleader), brother Naiyang Ling, mother Li Jin Yang, father Dong Lin, Chang-Hui Chen, Meiyan Xiao, Barry Stadler (of Michigan), Daniel Walsh, Terrance Jamahl Allen, Fei Xie, Ahmed Salim Harrold Sr. (of Michigan) and Luis Rafael Larios-Benites.
Lin previously lived in the Grand Rapids area but moved to Oklahoma City in February 2022. Michigan and Oklahoma allow for legal marijuana, but Homeland Security Investigations says Lin was operating outside the law to grow, move and sell his drugs.
The 48-page criminal complaint written by an HSI agent shows the feds have been watching Lin since September 2020, when he was flagged because he flew from New York City to Grand Rapids with $50,000 in cash.
The complaint lists at least four addresses in metro Grand Rapids where federal authorities believe Lin was growing or storing drugs. For example, in May 2021, one of Lin’s associates was stopped after leaving a property north of Rockford; police say they found 28 pounds of marijuana in her car. In October 2021, authorities raided a property in Byron Center where they say they found more than 3,000 marijuana plants and 42 pounds of processed marijuana. The court document says Ahmed Harrold’s name was on a Wyoming, Michigan, storage unit where marijuana was found and that a search of his phone revealed instructions from Lin about moving the drugs to Muskegon. Investigators say they found more marijuana at addresses in Lansing.
The HSI agent wrote that after Lin moved to Oklahoma City, he seemed to use his parents’ restaurant as a place to “aggregate” drugs or drug money. In May 2022, Lin was pulled over in Oklahoma City after leaving Byron Center and found to have $90,000 in cash in the car. He told police it was so he could buy a house. HSI says it believes it was drug money he had collected in Washington, D.C., New York and Michigan.
Barry Stadler was arrested in West Virginia in April 2022 with 430 pounds of marijuana in the car he was driving, which was registered to Lin’s brother, HSI says. A search of his phone showed that in the two days before his arrest, he had 80 communications with Lin. Stadler was spotted again in January of this year apparently moving drugs for Lin in Oklahoma City, the feds say.
Another suspected courier, Daniel Walsh, was pulled over in Oklahoma in December 2022 with 262 pounds of marijuana, the court document says. He apparently admitted he was a drug courier, moving marijuana between Oklahoma, Michigan, California, Georgia and Florida.
A third apparent courier, Terrance Allen of Oklahoma City, was arrested in Tampa, Florida, in May 2022 while driving a U-Haul truck carrying about 1,900 pounds of marijuana. HSI says that in February of this year, he was found with 262 more pounds in Oklahoma.
Court records show several of the suspects — Lin’s brother, his parents, Stadler, Harrold, Chen and Walsh — were arrested Wednesday and that they’re being held by the U.S. Marshals Service. Some, including brother Brandon Lin, Stadler and Walsh, appeared in a Grand Rapids courtroom Wednesday for their first appearances.