The suspect in the weekend murders of four people at an Oklahoma marijuana farm was arrested by officers in South Florida this afternoon, police announced late Tuesday night.
Wu Chen was taken into custody without incident by Miami Beach police just before 4 p.m. Central Time and taken to the Miami-Dade County Detention Center, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in an evening report on Facebook.
The arrest came “after a car tag reader flagged the vehicle he was driving,” it added. The suspect is charged with murder and shooting with intent to kill and is being extradited to Oklahoma.
OSBI also posted a picture from the US Marshals of the man sitting shoeless on a curb, apparently with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
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Authorities said the victims — three men and a woman, all Chinese nationals — were shot and “executed” on the 10-acre property west of Hennessey, about 35 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. A fifth victim, also a Chinese national, was injured and taken to a hospital in Oklahoma City.
The victims had not yet been publicly identified and the notification to the next of kin was still pending “due to a significant language barrier,” police said.
Authorities had previously said they had a suspect in mind, but withheld the name for now to avoid endangering others.
“The suspect was in that building for quite some time before the executions began,” OSBI said in a press release earlier Tuesday. “Based on the investigation to date, this does not appear to be a random incident.”
OSBI Captain Stan Florence said the previous day authorities believed the suspect knew the victims, who were found dead on Sunday night.
“They all know each other,” said Florence. “I don’t know if they’re related, or if they’re colleagues, but these individuals were certainly, we think, all familiar with each other.”
The Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to a reported hostage situation at the ranch and asked for help from state authorities, Florence said.
“There is a lot to unravel with this case,” he added. “It takes us a while to process it.”
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The case is being investigated as a quadruple homicide. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control is also investigating.
In recent years, that agency has focused on the criminal cultivation and trafficking of marijuana for the black market. But agency spokesman Mark Woodward said on Tuesday it was too early to say this was a focus of this investigation.
“Because it’s a marijuana farm, of course Oklahoma state law requires them to be licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and us,” Woodward said. “One of the things we look at is, was it obtained legally or was it obtained through fraud? So that will be part of our investigation.”
Porsha Riley, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, said there is an active license for a medical marijuana company to grow at the site.
None of the 14 Hennessey-area marijuana farms responded to email inquiries from The Associated Press, and officials would not identify which one was operating at the shooting scene.
Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018, and the industry grew rapidly thanks to an open-ended law that was less restrictive than other states.
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In March, voters will decide whether to legalize recreational use of the drug.
Maryland and Missouri passed recreational marijuana in this month’s midterm elections, bringing the total number of states that allow recreational use to 21. Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rejected legalization proposals during the midterm elections.