Two alleged marijuana distribution cases tied to hemp farm operations
More than 40 pounds of marijuana found at residence
- The Region II Narcotics Taskforce, comprised of San Juan County law enforcement, handled the investigation into both cases.
- This is the first time The Daily Times has reviewed court documents filed in state district court which have directly linked the operation of the hemp farms in the Shiprock area to alleged illegal marijuana operations.
- Hargis is accused of driving his red van back and forth to Shiprock multiple times and he was looking for people to purchase the marijuana.
FARMINGTON — The regional narcotics taskforce in two recent court cases acknowledge the hemp farm operations in the Shiprock area are allegedly producing illegal marijuana that is being distributed in San Juan County.
The two people accused of distributing marijuana include one case where more than 40 pounds of marijuana was found at a San Juan County residence.
William Hargis, 62, is accused of trafficking methamphetamine and possessing marijuana on Oct. 28, according to court documents and San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.
Bao Xue, 55, of Bakersfield, California, is accused of possessing marijuana in a shipping container on Oct. 21, according to court documents.
Both suspects did not have legal representation on the morning of Oct. 30.
New information released
The Region II Narcotics Taskforce, comprised of San Juan County law enforcement, handled the investigation into both cases.
Xue and Hargis’ charges were filed in New Mexico district courts.
The investigators wrote in Xue’s court documents that multiple farms in the Shiprock area are being utilized for the distribution and “grow” of large amounts of illegal marijuana.
“Many of the contacts initiated have led to the identification of California residents being in direct control of the transportation and distribution of marijuana, coming from the Shiprock farms,” according to Xue’s probable cause statement.
This is the first time The Daily Times has reviewed court documents filed in state district court which have directly linked the operation of the hemp farms in the Shiprock area to alleged illegal marijuana operations.
Capt. Kevin Burns of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office previously told The Daily Times on Oct. 13 it was possible that 17 suspects arrested for trafficking marijuana in Farmington were tied to the hemp farm operations but he did not confirm a link.
The Navajo Police Department on Oct. 15 posted on Facebook that 44 arrests tied to the "cannabis farm operations" have occurred.
Navajo Police Department Spokesperson Christina Tsosie did not respond to a request to clarify the types of alleged crimes for which those 44 suspects were arrested.
Hargis is charged with a second-degree felony count of trafficking controlled substances and a fourth-degree felony count of distribution/possession with intent to distribute marijuana, according to the criminal complaint.
Region II agents received tips that Hargis was allegedly transporting marijuana from farms on the Navajo Nation to his residence on County Road 3029, southwest of Aztec.
Hargis is accused of driving his red van back and forth to Shiprock multiple times and he was also accused of looking for people to purchase the marijuana.
A search warrant was obtained to search Hargis’ residence. That search occurred on Oct. 28, around the time Hargis allegedly traveled with a Region II agent to conduct a controlled purchase of meth. A bag with the suspected meth was later found on Hargis.
Multiple large plastic bags filled with raw, uncut marijuana were found inside a bedroom at Hargis’ residence.
Multiple gallon-sized plastic bags filled with processed and separated marijuana were found hidden underneath a mattress.
More than 40 pounds of marijuana was confiscated from the residence.
Hargis was booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 and released later that day.
Xue is charged with a fourth-degree felony count of distribution/possession with intent to distribute marijuana, according to the criminal complaint.
Region II agents received information five Conex boxes or shipping containers containing marijuana were traveling from a farm in Shiprock to Kachina Storage at 3934 US Highway 64 in Fruitland.
On Oct. 21, agents started surveillance on the business and an “illegal farm” in Shiprock.
After the five shipping containers were transported to Kachina Storage, the agents seized the containers and Xue was detained at the business. He was in a white van at the time.
Xue told investigators the five shipping containers belonged to him.
The lease for the containers were not under Xue’s name but he said they were related to the company he worked for.
The name of the company is not listed in the documents. Two large trash bags with marijuana were found inside one of the containers.
Xue said he was unsure how the marijuana got in there and did not have knowledge of it.
Xue was booked into the county jail on Oct. 21 and released on Oct. 22.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e