Marijuana smuggled in produce box nets 74 months in prison


A Brooklyn Center man was sentenced to 74 months in prison for his role in smuggling more than 100 kilograms of marijuana inside a produce shipment from California, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.


Steven Yang, 27, was taken away by Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies immediately after his sentence was pronounced. Yang pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to a count of first-degree sale of 50 kilos or more of marijuana. A second count of first-degree possession was dismissed as part of the plea deal.


According to the criminal complaint, police were called to a warehouse at 2700 28th St. East in Minneapolis on Jan. 1. Employees there told police they discovered a large amount of marijuana hidden inside a shipment of produce addressed to Yang.


When Yang came to pick up the package, he was arrested. Police examined the package more closely and discovered 260 individual packages, each with a pound of high-grade marijuana. That worked out to about 110 kilograms and would have had a street value of between $910,000 and $1.5 million, the complaint states.


Yang’s attorney, Sia Lo, told Hennepin County District Court Judge Gina Brandt that Yang was a good and hardworking young man who had attended one year of college and was acting as his ill father’s personal care attendant. It was poverty and poor judgement that led him to commit the crime and he has cooperated with law enforcement investigating the case, Lo said.


“This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my life and I truly regret what I did,” Yang told the judge.


Criminal Complaint (PDF)