Arrests Made In International Drug Distribution Conspiracy
FEB 2 -- Boston, MA... Four federal indictments, along with several search warrants, were unsealed today following a series of arrests of individuals on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy and marijuana. The indictments, charging a total of 23 people, are the result of a fifteen-month DEA led investigation, known as “Operation Polar Express” that targeted wholesale and retail illegal drug distributors in Massachusetts and their sources of supply in Canada and other parts of the United States, announced DEA Special Agent in Charge June W. Stansbury, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, Boston Housing Authority Police Chief Stephen Melia, Milton Police Chief Kevin Mearn, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Sharon E. Ormsby, ATF Special Agent in Charge Glenn N. Anderson, Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Colonel Mark Delaney, ICE Special Agent in Charge Bruce M. Foucart, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Bricker.
"Complete cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement partners made it possible to dismantle this drug dealing organization," commented U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "Today's indictments demonstrate our resolve to make our neighborhoods safer by reducing the availability of drugs in our communities and prosecuting those who peddle their poison."
According to documents filed in this case, since October 2005, a DEA Task Force has been conducting an investigation into the marijuana and ecstasy distribution activities of organizations operating in Boston. Investigative efforts included surveillance, wiretaps, undercover drug purchases, "trash pulls", and the seizure of drugs, firearms and other drug paraphernalia, following traffic stops and searches of residences.
It is alleged that the main source of supply of ecstasy was a group of individuals in Canada. The marijuana conspiracy is alleged to have involved, at its peak of operation, the trafficking of several hundred pounds of hydroponic marijuana each week from different sources in Canada and the United States. As a result of the investigation, approximately 85,000 ecstasy pills and approximately 100 lbs of marijuana have been seized by law enforcement.
“This group marketed their ecstasy by using images such as superman, a bat, a kangaroo and even the statue of liberty. It’s ironic that a group of traffickers who chose to use our symbol of liberty now face losing theirs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stansbury.
Of those charged, 19 are in federal custody and the arrests of the remaining 4 defendants are still being sought.
The defendants are charged as follows:
All of the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
All of the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy. BINH KIEM DUONG, BINH MONG DUONG, and KIMCHAU THI PHAN are also charged with conspiring to commit money laundering. Upon conviction, the maximum sentence for ecstasy conspiracy is 20 years in prison; and 20 years for money laundering conspiracy.
All of the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Upon conviction, they each face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.
The defendant is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute ecstasy and methamphetamine. Upon conviction, based on the methamphetamine content of the pills he is charged with distributing, he faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.
Each of the defendants, in addition to other penalties, faces forfeiture of any and all property constituting or derived from any proceeds obtained from their drug distribution activities; as well as any and all property used or intended to be used to commit and to facilitate their drug offenses.
The on-going investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Boston Task Force (comprised of members from the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Housing Authority Police, and the Milton and Lowell Police Departments), along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service. Assistance was also provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The U.S. Attorney would like to thank the Office of Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley for its assistance in the initiation of the investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Herbert, Chief of Sullivan’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Brieger, also in the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hoffman, Assistant Chief for Legal Policy in the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.