A suspect was apprehended Tuesday in Florida in connection with the killings of four people — and the injuring of a fifth person — at a marijuana farm in rural Oklahoma on 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 car tag reader “flagged the vehicle he was driving,” OSBI said a news release.
Chen is being held in the Miami-Dade County Detention Center awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, OSBI said, and is expected to face charges of murder and shooting with intent to kill.
Prior to the arrest, OSBI Capt. Stan Florence said authorities believed the suspect knew the victims, who were found dead Sunday night at the 10-acre farm west of Hennessey, about 55 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
“They all know each other,” Florence said. “Don’t know if they’re related, or if they’re coworkers, but certainly these individuals were, we believe, all familiar with each other.”
According to OSBI, the male suspect entered a building on the farm where there were several employees around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday.
“The suspect was inside that building for a significant amount of time before the executions began,” OSBI said in a news release Tuesday. “Based on the investigation thus far, this does not appear to be a random incident.”
“Three men and one woman – all Chinese Nationals – were executed,” 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 homicide. Next-of-kin notifications are pending, police said, because of a “significant language barrier.”
The Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to a reported hostage situation at the farm but requested help 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’s a lot to unravel with this case,” he said. “It’ll take a little 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 location.
Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018 and the industry quickly boomed, thanks to an open-ended law that put in place fewer restrictions than in other states.
In March, voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of the drug.