DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN)— Four men were arrested and accused of multiple crimes including trafficking drugs in three states, with Dothan being the pickup location.
Xin Lei Chen, 33, and Yanchao Huang, 39, both of Flushing, New York, were arrested in Panama City, Fla., after a joint action by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Burea of Investigation (FBI).
Chen and Huang have been accused of trafficking more than 25 pounds of marijuana and importation of marijuana into the state of Florida. According to officials, special investigator Lt. David Higgins with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an agent with the FBI regarding the movement of a suspicious package.
According to reports, a task force officer in the Oklahoma City Field Office contacted the FBI agent about the package that was at the Southeastern Freight Lines Hub, in Oklahoma City. A search warrant was issued for the package and authorities unveiled 10 boxes on a pallet that said “CCTV” on the outside. It was discovered the boxes contained approximately 300 pounds of marijuana. The bill of lading showed the package was to be delivered to an “Alex” at StowPros storage units in Panama City.
The FBI used surveillance to follow the package from Oklahoma City, to Birmingham, Al, then to the Southern Freighlines Hub in Dothan, Al.
While at the Dothan hub, a separate vehicle picked up the marijuana. The driver of the vehicle was reportedly identified as Xin Lei Chen and the passenger as Yanchao Huang. The vehicle containing the drugs was followed by authorities from Dothan to Panama City.
Chen and Huang arrived at 511 East 3rd Street, Panama City, and waited under a carport. Two other men, cousins Jonathon Nguyen, 31, of Panama City Beach, and Thien Nguyen, 34, of Lynn Haven, Fl, arrived and attempted to enter the residence. Authorities then made contact with the cousins Nguyen, Chen, and Huang.
After being taken into custody and by use of a translator, Chen and Huang stated they were contacted by a “middle man” and were told they would receive $500 to $1,000 to pick up the package from Dothan. They revealed a plane ticket was paid for by the “middle man”, which flew them from Flushing, New York, to Bay County, Fl. The two men then rented a vehicle themselves so it would not be in the “middle man’s” name.
They denied having any knowledge of what was inside the 10 boxes. Chen and Huang admitted to being arrested for a similar incident in another state that the “middle man” sent them to.
Also recovered during the investigation were $33,000 in US currency, an AR-15, and 7.4 grams of Fentanyl
- Xin Lei Chen was charged with Trafficking Marijuana in Excess of 25 Pounds, and Smuggling Marijuana Into the State
- Yanchao Huang was charged with Trafficking Marijuana in Excess of 25 Pounds and Smuggling Marijuana Into the State.
- Jonathon Nguyen was charged with Trafficking in Marijuana in excess of 25 pounds, Possession of a Weapon or Ammo by a Convicted Felon, Trafficking in Fentanyl, and Committing a 3rd Degree Felony in Possession of a Weapon
- Thien Nguyen was charged with Conspiracy to Trafficking in Marijuana
The investigation has been turned over to the FBI.