Suspects sentenced for bribing former Siskiyou County sheriff

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. – A U.S. attorney from California announced two suspects who played a role in a bribery scheme in Siskiyou County have now been sentenced. It’s a case that’s been developing for years.

Former Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said it all started when 36-year-old Chi Meng Yang of Montague and his sister—41-year-old Gaosheng Laitinen of Minnesota—attempted to offer him $1 million in exchange for protection against prosecution regarding an interstate marijuana operation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI Stepped in, asking Lopey to cooperate with the suspects.

It led to a series of meetings, and even cash payments, culminating in a bust in August of 2017.

Lopey said, “I think that some people believe that they can influence official decisions and actions because of the multi-million dollar nature of the industry and just the amount of money they can offer to others to entice them to do things that promote their illegal businesses.”

Former Sheriff Lopey explained it was all part of the suspects’ plan to strengthen the illegal marijuana trade in the county.

Yang was sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison while Laitinen got time served and a $50,000 fine.

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