An Aurora couple was sentenced in federal court this week for their role in a large-scale black market marijuana grow operation, the first people to be sent to prison as part of a massive Denver-area drug take-down announced last year.

Huanyu Yan, 54, and You Lan Xiang, 50, received 36 months and 30 months in federal prison, respectively, for growing nearly 900 marijuana plants in their basement with plans to distribute the drug, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

The two were found guilty in December of marijuana cultivation following a four-day trial.

“These defendants turned their family home into a full-scale drug manufacturing facility,” U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said in a statement.  “As the first to be sentenced in this operation, I hope it sends a message to anyone involved in black-market marijuana production that we will catch them, prosecute them and send them to prison.”

On Oct. 10, 2018, local and federal law enforcement raided the house on East Doane Drive, finding 878 marijuana plants and 9.72 pounds of finished marijuana.

The drug bust was part of a coordinated effort over two years that targeted a drug trafficking organization that set up shop in hundreds of homes around the Denver area. The investigation, touted by law enforcement as the largest pot bust in Colorado history, netted dozens of arrests and the seizure of more than 80,000 marijuana plants and millions of dollars in cash.

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