Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.


Trial of two men charged in large-scale Savoy cannabis bust set for July

MSP Savoy grow house 2.png (copy)

Massachusetts State Police released this photo of cannabis plants that officials say were being cultivated inside the Savoy house. Two co-defendants, Deming Wu and Yebin Mai, are headed for trial in July.  

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

PITTSFIELD — One of the people caught in a large-scale illegal cannabis bust pleaded guilty last year to a reduced charge, but with a new district attorney making prosecutorial decisions, two other defendants in the same case are headed to trial.

The trial of Deming Wu and Yebin Mai is set for July, attorneys have confirmed, more than a year after the codefendants rejected a plea agreement.

“The commonwealth at this point isn’t willing to reduce the charges,” said Assistant District Attorney Amy Winston on Thursday. “I don’t believe it will be resolved short of trial.”

A jury will decide whether Wu and Mai are criminally responsible for the large-scale cannabis-grow operation authorities discovered in 2020 at 72 Jackson Road in Savoy.

Winston spoke at a hearing in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini. Wu and Mai’s trial is expected to take about a week, with proceedings translated into Cantonese for the defendants.

The office of District Attorney Timothy Shugrue said three codefendants, Wu, Mai and Bin Huang, were offered plea deals on former DA Andrea Harrington’s watch, but only Huang accepted.

As part of the agreement, Huang pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a reduced charge for Huang who was initially indicted on trafficking between 100 and but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana. He owned the Jackson Road home where law officers in 2020 said they seized 3,598 marijuana plants that weighed 560 pounds.

Shugrue said plea agreements wouldn’t be an option today because he has “no tolerance for those who choose to bring large quantities of drugs with the intent to distribute.”

“Had these defendants been charged under my administration they would never have been offered a plea deal,” Shugrue said in an email. “This is not a minor drug offense case. The three men had every intent to traffic drugs in Berkshire County.”

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

State police pegged the street value of the plants seized from the home at more than $3 million.

Investigators trained their sights on the residence after Eversource employees responded to the home to fix a reported problem with “flickering lights.” The utility workers saw signs that the house was drawing an exorbitant amount of electricity to the tune of thousands of dollars a month. It had previously been the site of an electrical fire.

A worker told Mai that he needed to shut off the power to fix the problem, according to court documents. Mai protested to the power being shut off and at one point allegedly put an envelope with $600 cash inside in the worker’s pocket.

The utility employee called his boss, who called the police. A state police trooper arrived on the property and saw signs that something was going on, including a large pile of marijuana roots near the woodline and a strong smell of fresh cannabis coming from the home.

State police were granted two search warrants, which they executed in the summer of 2020 and found the majority of about 12 rooms in the house filled with marijuana plants and a hydroponic grow and ventilation system. The grow operation was not licensed.

Huang, the owner of 72 Jackson Road, told police that Mai was in charge of renting it, according to court documents. Huang was ordered to forfeit to the government about $40,000. He also agreed to forfeit the home for which he had paid $200,000 cash.

Russell L. Chin, Mai’s attorney, filed a motion asking a judge to suppress evidence of the operation on the grounds that they were collected through an illegal search. Chin also moved to suppress statements made by Mai.

But Judge Jane Mulqueen determined that authorities didn’t err when conducting the investigation, and ruled the evidence admissible as well as Mai’s statements. Mai and Wu’s trial is set to begin in Berkshire Superior Court on July 3.

Amanda Burke can be reached at or 413-496-6296.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.