Utility workers attempting to address electrical safety concerns at a Savoy home using roughly $10,000 of power every month resulted in state police allegedly finding about $3 million worth of marijuana plants in the suspected grow house.
Two men — Bin Huang, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, who owns the home, and Yebin Mai, 28, of Staten Island, New York — have now been arrested for allegedly trafficking marijuana, state police said in a news release.
Police were initially called to the home at 72 Jackson Road on July 29 after an Eversource utility crew had an encounter with a man, later identified as Mai, who was exiting the home while they were there, the release says.
“Investigation by the linemen indicated that wires had been overloaded and damaged by excessive electricity use from the house, and they approached the residence to speak to the occupant,” police said. “A male exited the home and, claiming he did not speak much English and communicating mostly through gestures, refused to let the workers inspect the home’s electrical hookups.”
Mai insisted and through gestures told the crew that they couldn’t shut off the home’s power, according to police. Mai allegedly “became agitated” during the interaction.
“At one point Mai reached over to the Eversource lineman and placed an envelope in the pocket of the lineman’s vest,” police said. “The lineman saw that the envelope contained $100 bills. The Eversource employee attempted to give the money back to Mai, who pushed the lineman’s hand away.”
That’s when the crew decided to leave the property with the power on and call police, the release says.
When state troopers arrived, they spoke with the utility crew, and then saw Mai attempting to leave the home with two other men in a pickup truck, according to authorities. The crew again tried to say that the electrical situation at the home was a hazard, and Mai again said he didn’t speak English.
In looking at the home’s four electrical meters, authorities noticed that the wiring in and around them was melted. There were also “fresh burn marks on the wood that encased the meters,” which police said was proof of a past fire. The company then cut power to the home due to safety concerns. Records from Eversource showed the five-figure utility bills.
Outside the home, state police noticed some evidence that may indicate marijuana growing, authorities said. There was a marijuana smell, and the windows were covered with plywood and curtains that were closed. In the backyard, there were materials that appeared to be from renovations and fluorescent lights. There also appeared to be marijuana roots behind the home in the woods.
Mai allegedly told police, via a translation app, that he didn’t know why he was at the home and that he didn’t know who owned it.
A search warrant for the home was later issued, and, inside, authorities noticed the smell of marijuana emanating from the basement. Down there, police allegedly found what appeared to be marijuana plants being grown in pots, plus a hydroponic system and lights. There were five rooms allegedly filled with plants, plus tools for cultivation, authorities said.
On the first floor, authorities allegedly found more plants and things needed to grow them. Nearly 3,600 plants were removed from the home, weighing 560 pounds, police said.
Police kept checking the home to see if the suspects had returned and, on Wednesday, made a traffic stop, arresting both men. Bail was set at $100,000 each, and they were planned to return to court on Friday. Property records showed Bin Huang had purchased the home in 2017 for $200,000 in cash, according to police.
The other two men seen in the pickup truck with Mai the day police first spoke with him are being sought by police, and authorities said in the release they know who they are.
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