Chinese immigrant workers have filed a lawsuit against the operators of an illegal marijuana farm on the Navajo Nation, alleging that they were lured to northern New Mexico under false pretenses and forced to work 14 hours a day trimming marijuana, Susan Montoya Bryan and Rio Yamat for the Associated Press.
The lawsuit names Navajo businessman Dineh Benally and Irving Lin, a Taiwanese entrepreneur, as defendants and accuses their farm operation of promising $200, housing, and food for flower cutting and gardening services, but instead had their phones and car keys taken and imprisoned them in a hotel and kept them away from their families. When police busted the operation they found 2,000 pounds of marijuana, worth $3 million to $10 million. They say the operation has ballooned to nearly two dozen farms and more than 1,100 greenhouses spread across 400 acres. The lawsuit claims that Benally and Lin intentionally targeted Chinese immigrants in California who were out of work in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.