File photo – Shown is an illegal greenhouse containing mature, budding marijuana plants that the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office raided on June 25, 2020.

By Damon Arthur | Redding Record Searchlight

A Siskiyou County man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison on marijuana growing charges and for attempting to bribe former Sheriff Jon Lopey.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey addresses the Board of Supervisors during a meeting in January of 2017.
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey addresses the Board of Supervisors during a meeting in January of 2017

Chi Meng Yang, 36, of Montague, and his sister, Gaosheng Laitinen, 41, of St. Paul, Minnesota, were sentenced Tuesday in connection to a bribery scheme aimed at “protecting” illicit marijuana grows in Siskiyou County from law enforcement, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.

Yang was sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison. Laitinen was sentenced to time-served and a $50,000 fine.

In March of this year, a federal jury convicted Yang of attempting to bribe Lopey, conspiracy to commit bribery and manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants.

Shortly before the trial, Laitinen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

The attempted bribery happened during a series of meetings between Yang and Lopey, starting in May 2017, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Yang offered to make a series of payments to Lopey, including money for a charity, for his re-election campaign and in cash payments, according to the attorney’s office.

It started with Yang offering to give the sheriff $1 million toward the charity of his choice, in exchange for Lopey’s friendship and his help lobbying to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, officials said.

Read the original article at Record Searchlight

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