Crime - Sacto 911

Elk Grove man sentenced in marijuana cultivation scheme

The fifth and final defendant in an indoor marijuana cultivation scheme has been sentenced to federal prison.

Shihong Chen, 51, of Elk Grove was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to one year and one day in prison for growing marijuana in homes in Elk Grove and Sacramento, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers on Jan. 30, 2013, executed federal search warrants at seven homes in Sacramento County, including four houses where Chen cultivated marijuana: 9761 McKenna Drive, Sacramento; 8270 Cliffcrest Way, Sacramento; 8108 Gwerder Court, Elk Grove; and 3713 45th Ave., Sacramento. Authorities seized more than 1,000 plants in all.

The investigation began when law enforcement agencies learned of abnormally high power consumption at 8646 Everidge Court in Sacramento, owned by Green Ventures LLC. During their investigation, officers observed Oakland-based real estate agent Zhiqiang Liu frequently traveling to and from the Everidge Court house. On Jan. 30, 2013, officers executed a federal search warrant at the address and found 867 growing marijuana plants, approximately 31.8 kilograms of cultivated marijuana and $7,070 in cash, authorities said.

The four defendants previously sentenced in the case are Zhiqiang Liu, three years in prison; Jun Mou Peng and Qinghong Li, both sentenced to one year and one day in prison; and Huanhao Chen, sentenced to one year of probation.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy