Guilty Plea Rescheduled in Centralia Marijuana Grow Case

By The Chronicle

One of four suspects arrested in 2016 after being found tending an illegal marijuana grow in Centralia was scheduled to enter a guilty plea Wednesday, but the hearing has been rescheduled after his attorney was not able to attend. 

Chao Hui Tan, 28, was charged in December 2016 along with Xiaohui Zhang, 22, Nianhua Chen, 47, both of Portland, and Mei Lan Su, 80, of Centralia. They were all charged as co-defendants in Lewis County Superior Court with manufacture of marijuana. Tan was scheduled to enter a guilty plea Wednesday afternoon. 

However, his attorney did not appear at the scheduled time due to emergency surgery, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Tan is scheduled to be back in court Jan. 25 to reschedule the guilty plea. 

Zhang and Chen are scheduled to go to trial in the case in April. Su is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 29.

According to the Joint Narcotic Enforcement Team, a partnership between the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Centralia and Chehalis police departments, began investigating a report of a possible marijuana grow at a residence in the 200 block of Susan Street in Centralia in 2016. 

Detectives found the home was using a month’s worth of electricity each week and smelled marijuana when visiting the property. 

Detectives contacted Tan, who reportedly said he had medical authorization to grow the plants, but didn’t have documentation. He told officers first he had five plants, then increased that number to 100. 

Officers conducted a search of the property and found the other three suspects and more than 900 marijuana plants estimated to be worth approximately $1.3 million.