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Wednesday, October 8, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Ringleader of International Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

PHILADELPHIA - A federal court today sentenced the ringleader of an international drug trafficking conspiracy to 40 years in prison, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Laurie Magid announced. Lan Dang, a resident of Toronto, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and to pay a $1,500 fine, a $300 special assessment and $190,000 in forfeiture.

Dang was convicted in December 2007 after a week-long trial on charges of conspiracy to import 138,000 ecstasy pills into the United States, importing ecstasy pills and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Dang was indicted on Dec. 6, 2006, and was charged in a superseding indictment on Oct. 10, 2007.

According to information revealed at trial, Dang was the head of an international Asian drug trafficking organization that smuggled large amounts of illegal drugs, which had been manufactured in Canada, into the United States. These drugs were then distributed to customers from Boston to Atlanta. During a two month period between Aug. 29, 2006, and Oct. 20, 2006, Dang sold approximately 138,000 ecstasy pills to two Philadelphia-based drug dealers, co-defendants Minh La and Roberck Suon. Dang then coordinated a sophisticated scheme to launder the proceeds of those drugs sales back to Canada.

According to trial testimony, on Oct. 20, 2006, the Pennsylvania State Police discovered 45,000 of these ecstasy pills during a traffic stop of a vehicle that co-defendants Vutha Kao and Jeremy Warren were using to take these pills from Philadelphia to Atlanta. In the car, the state troopers also found a sawed-off carbine rifle used by Kao and Warren to protect the shipment of drugs. Kao and Warren were each sentenced to 30 years in prison for their roles in these offenses.

For the past several years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section (OCRS), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and various Canadian law enforcement agencies have been working closely together to crack down on these Asian organized crime groups. To date, Dang is one of the highest ranking members of an Asian organized crime group to be prosecuted in the United States.

The case was prosecuted by OCRS Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Livermore and was investigated by special agents with ICE. In addition, the investigation received assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the DEA; the Pennsylvania State Police; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Federal Bureau of Prisons; the Delaware County Prison; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Ontario Provincial Police Department; and the Toronto Metropolitan Police Department.