Providence Man Pleads Guilty to Operating Marijuana Grow Facilities

Friday, June 24, 2016


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In a case that GoLocalProv first reported, Richard Yang, 36, of Providence has pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence to participating in conspiracies to operate large scale marijuana grow facilities inside a converted Providence mill building. 

Yang is one of 8 individuals charged in February 2016 by way of a federal superseding indictment for participating in conspiracies to operate marijuana grow facilities inside the former mil building. 

The Investigation 

On August 13, 2015, FBI agents assisted by DEA agents, Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police executed 9 federal court authorized search warrants in and around 725 Branch Avenue. 

Approximately 1,400 marijuana plants in various stages of growth were discovered inside numerous otherwise vacant apartments and offices. 

A 10th federal search warrant was executed at a Providence residence at 60 Valley Street in Providence where law enforcement seized approximately 100 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. 

In court, Yang admitted to the court that between December 2012 and August 2015, he conspired with others to operate large scale  marijuana grow facilities inside two rooms of the Branch Avenue building. Law enforcement seized 884 marijuana plants in various stage of growth and 35 kilograms of harvested marijuana from Yang's operations. 

Pleading Guilty 

Yang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture more than 100 marijuana plants. He faces statutory penalties of between 5 years and 40 years imprisonment when he is sentenced on September 23, 2016. 

Yang is also required to forfeit $20,000 to the government prior to imposition of sentence. 

Additional Arrest 

During a search of the building at 725 Branch Avenue, law enforcement seized a .22 caliber firearm from an area occupied by the owner of the building, William Ricci, 69. 

Ricci pleaded guilty to manufacturing and storing marijuana, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is set to be sentenced on October 11, 2016. 


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