A man accused of killing four people at an illegal Oklahoma marijuana farm last month opened fire after demanding employees give him $300,000 as a return for his investment in the illegal operation.
Wu Chen, 45, was charged Friday with four counts of first-degree felony murder and one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon in a Nov. 20 attack on a Kingfisher County farm.
According to charging documents, he is accused of killing Chinese nationals Quirong Lin, Chen He Chun, Chen He Qiang and Fang Hui Lee and injuring Yi Fei Lin.
A filing requesting Chen to be held on no bond revealed how he demanded $300,000 from employees at the farm and opened fire within minutes, killing the fifth victim, wounding the fifth victim, and taking shots at, but missed a sixth. The fact that it could not be handed over on a moment's notice was what caused the mass murder, the filing said.
It is not clear why Chen wanted the money at the time. The filing identified him as a Chinese national with no binding ties to Oklahoma outside of his criminal activity. Prosecutors said that some of the crime was caught on video footage and eyewitnesses who knew Chen as the shooter.
After the killings, Chen fled to Miami in a car, where he was found on November 22 when a license plate reader flagged his vehicle. He was captured and extradited to Oklahoma.
On Thursday, Chen was booked into Kingfisher County Justice Center and remains in custody, according to online jail records. It is not immediately clear if he has an attorney.
His conduct shows him to be an intolerably dangerous criminal, ready to take human life at a moment's notice, and the witnesses he left alive would be in very real danger if he was allowed to be free on bond, the request for no bond stated.
He was accused of being involved in the illegal industrial-scale marijuana grow operation at the farm, located west of Hennessey, a town about 50 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
Prosecutors warned that such enterprises generate huge amounts of income, largely in cash, which makes it unaccountable, and could aid Chen in fleeing the state and country.
The filing states that the marijuana farm was seized by law enforcement.
NBC News reached out to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs regarding the status of the farm.
A neighbor, Brandon Walker, said that the property used to be a dairy farm but was sold to an investment company in recent years, which sold the land before it was converted to a grow operation.
Since Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018, more than 10,000 businesses have been licensed, and 1 in 10 residents have gotten cards allowing them to buy the product.
In May, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill that temporarily blocks new dispensary and processing licenses. The move came after lawmakers said commercial operations that included out-of-state and foreign growers were exploiting in-state residency requirements and limited enforcement resources.
There are a rise in black market operators using suspected human traffickers, including Chinese nationals, to grow and trim marijuana sold in legal dispensaries.