New York man held on $30K bail in Granby pot bust

  • Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2022 5:21:54 PM

BELCHERTOWN — A Brooklyn, New York man arrested Wednesday for his role in growing close to 1,400 marijuana plants inside a Granby home will be held at Hampshire Jail and House of Correction on $30,000 cash bail.

Haolin Yu, 30, pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking marijuana weighing between 100 and 2,000 pounds and possession with intent to distribute a class D substance during a virtual arraignment from Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown before Judge William Rooney. Yu will be back in court for a bind over hearing scheduled for Feb. 7.

Rooney set the bail lower than the $50,000 requested by Assistant District Attorney Matt Russo, who argued for an amount based on Yu’s lack of ties to the region, the facts of the case and the prosecution’s intent to indict and the potential penalty, if convicted, of serving time in state prison.

Russo said Yu was the sole occupant of the 276 Amherst St. home where police, with assistance from the FBI, found an “elaborate grow operation” that included six rooms with grow lights and plants at various stages of development, another room with drying racks, marijuana packaged for sale and scales.

Since investigators have already determined that the packaged marijuana weighs 100 pounds, Russo said the threshold for the trafficking charge is already met.

Yu was visible during portions of the call and appeared to be crying periodically, at least once wiping tears from his eyes as an interpreter provided him details of the arraignment.

In requesting a bail of $1,000, Jaime Rogers, a Northampton public defender from the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said all facts of the case come from a single paragraph in a police narrative, and that the prosecution had failed to establish probable cause that the defendant was in actual possession of the drugs, only that he was present at the residence.

“He doesn’t live at this home, he lives in Brooklyn,” Rogers said.

The Granby home was purchased in 2020 by JJJ & Jay Inc., whose president is Xiu Yi Liang.

Rogers said Yu and his wife have limited means, noting that the couple has a 2-year-old child, and that his wife is currently pregnant. In addition, Yu has no criminal history. Rogers suggested that Yu would be willing to surrender his passport and sign a waiver of rendition.

The defense attorney also argued that marijuana is a substance that is readily and legally available in Massachusetts to people 21 and over.

Wednesday’s arrest comes exactly a year after a similar incident at a Belchertown home where more than 800 marijuana plants, a growing apparatus and $2,500 in cash were seized after police obtained a search warrant. In that case, two Brooklyn men were arrested for their role in turning a residence into a manufacturing operation.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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Northampton, MA 01061


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