A suspect was arrested Tuesday in Florida in connection with the killings of four people — and the wounding of a fifth person — at a marijuana farm in rural Oklahoma Sunday night, authorities said. The bodies were found after authorities responded to a reported hostage situation at the farm, and the victims were described as having been “executed”.
Wu Chen, 45, was taken into custody in Miami Beach, Florida, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday night.
He was apprehended at 4 p.m. local time by Miami Beach police after a license plate reader “flagged the vehicle he was driving,” the OSBI said in a news release.
Chen is being held at the Miami-Dade County Detention Center pending extradition to Oklahoma, the OSBI said, and is expected to be charged with murder and shooting with intent to kill.
Before the arrest, OSBI Capt. Stan Florence said authorities believed the suspect knew the victims, who were found dead Sunday night on the 10-acre farm west of Hennessey, about 85 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
“They all know each other,” Florence said. “Don’t know if they’re related or if they’re co-workers, but certainly these individuals, we believe, were all familiar with each other.”
According to the OSBI, the male suspect entered a building on the farm where there were several employees around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
“The suspect was inside that building for a significant amount of time before the executions began,” the OSBI said in a news release Tuesday. “Based on the investigation so far, it does not appear to be a random incident.”
“Three men and one woman – all Chinese nationals – were executed,” the OSBI added.
The injured person, who is also a Chinese national, was airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. The case is being investigated as a quadruple murder. Notification of next of kin is pending, police said, due to a “significant language barrier.”
The Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to a reported hostage situation at the farm, but requested assistance from state authorities, Florence said.
Police searched the property late Sunday and Monday using drones, helicopters and on the ground, Florence said, but did not find the suspect.
“There is a lot to sort out with this case,” he said. “It will take some time for us to process it.”
Porsha Riley, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, said there is an active license for a medical marijuana grow business at the site.
Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018, and the industry boomed quickly, thanks to an open law that imposed fewer restrictions than in other states.
In March, voters will decide whether to legalize recreational use of the drug.