Renton-area man federally convicted of large-scale illegal cannabis operation
Investigators say he used his real estate connections to launder money and grow the illegal business
A 52-year-old man from the Renton area was sentenced today in US District Court in Seattle to 6 years in prison for his dealings involving the illegal manufacture of marijuana.
According to the US Department of Justice, Raymond Ng participated in conspiracies to facilitate the illegal cultivation of marijuana in residential neighborhoods and to launder proceeds through businesses and properties.
“Mr. Ng’s scheme was harmful to our community on many levels,” said US Attorney Brown. “Illegal marijuana crops are at risk from electrical fires, drug theft by other offenders and chemical and mold contamination of the growth process. Violation of Washington State’s marijuana production law harms the regulated market. And buying homes with drug proceeds and turning them into grow houses hurts homebuyers trying to get a foothold in the real estate market.”
According to records filed in the case, Ng’s involvement in the illegal marijuana business appears to have started as early as 2016, when he bought a house near an elementary school in Renton and rented it to an employee of his construction company to grow marijuana.
The home was searched by law enforcement in June 2017, resulting in the seizure of 533 plants. That house was later sold by Ng, but authorities say he lied in his seller’s disclosure statement and said the house had not been used for drug manufacturing.
Investigators say that despite the search of his property, Ng continued to help others illegally grow marijuana at residences around Seattle. He leased his own properties to illegal marijuana growers and helped others buy properties that were used to illegally grow marijuana.
When law enforcement was looking for growth, Ng’s construction company would renovate the property and his real estate firm would help sell it. Through these many services, Ng helped spread illegal marijuana cultivation to Puget Sound neighborhoods.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said, “Ng continued his conduct after ample warning that he was a criminal and that he was at risk.”
Investigators say Ng also conspired to launder drug proceeds, working with his co-conspirator to use illegal marijuana proceeds to pay for properties. Ng used his position as a successful businessman to lie to a mortgage company so that an employee of his construction business could buy a house, which the employee then used to grow marijuana.
Ng has been in custody since his arrest in October 2020. As part of a broader investigation, law enforcement searched Ng’s home, as well as dozens of other locations in Washington, Oregon and New York, seizing 13,000 marijuana plants, more than 500 kilos of processed marijuana. , 20 firearms and millions of dollars in cash and property. They seized more than $300,000 in cash from Ng’s home, which Ng admitted was drug proceeds.
Ng is forfeiting more than $750,000 as part of his sentence.
Seeking an 87-month sentence, prosecutors wrote in court, Ng “used his successful business as a front to launder drug proceeds. He used his experience as a real estate agent to facilitate the purchase and marijuana grow house sale. And he used his position as a business owner to lie to mortgage companies and the government. In many ways, it was precisely Ng’s professional accomplishments that allowed him to violate the law”.
The case was investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the King County Sheriff’s Office. The Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted with the search warrants in October 2020.