PROVIDENCE – A New York man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence today to charges that he participated in conspiracies to operate large-scale, sophisticated marijuana grow facilities inside a converted Providence mill building.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Irwan Anwar, 54, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants, and using or maintaining a drug premises.
Anwar’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the FBI Harold H. Shaw.
According to information presented to the Court, in August 2015, FBI agents, assisted by agents and officers from the DEA, Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police Department, executed a series of federal court-authorized search warrants at 725 Branch Avenue in Providence, a former mill building which had been sub-divided into numerous units. Two of the units were found to contain multiple rooms housing sophisticated, large-scale hydroponic marijuana grows.
One unit contained 550 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The second unit contained 252 plants in various stages of growth. Both units contained vast amounts of sophisticated equipment and supplies used to grow and harvest marijuana.
Anwar, and another person, Ilhawan Cha, 35, of Providence, admitted to having been employed for more than a year by Richard A. Yang, 38, of Providence, to maintain the facilities, and to grow and harvest the marijuana.
Yang pleaded guilty on April 7, 2017, to conspiracy to manufacture over 100 marijuana plants and manufacture of over 100 marijuana plants. He was sentenced on April 20, 2017, to 24 months in federal prison to be followed by 4 years supervised release.
Cha pleaded guilty on May 12, 2016, to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants, and using or maintaining a drug premises. Cha, who had been detained in federal custody since his arrest on February 23, 2016, was sentenced on April 11, 2017, to time served to be followed by 3 years supervised release.
Anwar is scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2019.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.