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Indictments Announced Following Wisconsin Drug Trafficking and Illegal Gambling Investigation
24 charged and $1.3 million in alleged proceeds seized

Milwaukee Police Department Captain Tony Smith, DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley, US Attorney James Santelle, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen addressing the media at the Milwaukee press conference. DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley (at podium) and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen address the media.
Milwaukee Police Department  Captain Tony Smith, DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley, US Attorney James Santelle, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen addressing the media at the Milwaukee press conference.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley (at podium) and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen address the media.

MILWAUKEE, WI. – United States Attorney James L. Santelle, DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, and Milwaukee Police Department Chief Edward Flynn, announced today that 24 defendants were charged in federal court with various drug-trafficking and illegal gambling offenses. The defendants are charged with, among other things, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and Operating an Illegal Gambling Business.

On Tuesday, May 24th, over 150 law enforcement officers from the following agencies: Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations, Wauwatosa Police Department, Milwaukee County MEG Unit, Ozaukee County MEG Unit, Elk Grove Village Police Department, and the Wisconsin State Patrol, executed over 18 search warrants at locations associated with the defendants and arrested 23 of the defendants in Southeast Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Los Angeles, CA, and Minneapolis - Saint Paul, MN. Vinh V. Trinh (age: 44), of Los Angeles, CA is still at large.

The defendants charged with violating conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846, are identified as:

Hoa Q. Nguyen (age: 52), of Racine, WI;
Vu Q. Nguyen (age: 28), of Oak Creek, WI;
Tu C. Ly (age: 25), of Oak Creek, WI;
Vinh V. Trinh (age: 44), of Los Angeles, CA;
An N. Nguyen (age: 34), of Skokie, IL;
Huy Han (age: 33), of Skokie, IL;
John T. Nguyen (age: 26), of Chicago, IL;
Hoang P. Nguyen (age: 32), of Skokie, IL;
Thanh K. Lai (age: 37), of Chicago, IL;
Phuc K. Tran (age: 34), of Elk Grove Village, IL;
Hien T. Tran (age: 32), of Elk Grove Village, IL;
Sam V. Hunyh (age: 34), of Morton Grove, IL;
Quan C. Hoac (age: 35), of St. Cloud, MN;
Michael S. Harmon (age: 61), of Seattle, WA;
Sourideth Joe Chansomphou (age: 38), of Milwaukee, WI;
Tien D. Nguyen (age: 36), of Milwaukee, WI;
Reno A. Nguyen (age: 36), of Franklin, WI.

The defendants charged with Operating an Illegal Gambling Business, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1955, are identified as:

Hoa Q. Nguyen (age: 52), of Racine, WI;
Vu Q. Nguyen (age: 28), of Oak Creek, WI;
Tu C. Ly (age: 25), of Oak Creek, WI;
An N. Nguyen (age: 34), of Skokie, IL;
Huy Han (age: 33), of Skokie, IL;
Hoang P. Nguyen (age: 32), of Chicago, IL;
Thanh K. Lai (age: 37), of Chicago, IL;
Khanh N. Lam (age: 42), of Franklin, WI;
Laura T. Phan (age: 40), of Wauwatosa, WI;
Hoang Hoang (age: 49), of Milwaukee, WI;
Binh J. Nguyen (age: 38), of Oak Creek, WI;
Tony V. Tran (age: 43), of Germantown, WI;
Kevin S. Ho (age: 41), Mequon, WI.

Jimmy D. Ho (age:42), of Niles, IL and Quan C. Hoac (age: 35), of St. Cloud, MN are also charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise, in Title 18 United States Code, Section 1952.

The defendants were charged after a year-long investigation by HIDTA and DEA. The Milwaukee HIDTA is comprised of personnel from the MPD, DEA, Wisconsin Department of Justice, FBI, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Milwaukee HIDTA worked very closely with United States Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Northern District of Illinois, as well as other federal, state and local jurisdictions throughout the United States and Canada.

Hundreds of pounds of marijuana have been transported by couriers from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. to Minnesota, Southeast Wisconsin, and Northern Illinois. Couriers also transported bulk cash, including illegal gambling proceeds, back to the marijuana suppliers in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. The gambling charge is the first of its kind in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in decades and involves the defendants managing a sophisticated sports betting operation in Southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois that generated tens of thousands of dollars weekly. To date, over 35 individuals have been federally indicted in connection with the related investigations. Over $800,000 in U.S. Currency was seized from residences, businesses, and safe deposit boxes in Southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, bringing the total seized cash to date to approximately $1.3 million. Approximately 25 pounds of marijuana, marijuana packaging materials, numerous drug trafficking and gambling ledgers, two firearms, a bullet proof vest, several items of jewelry, and numerous vehicle were seized as well.

"The scope of this alleged marijuana trafficking organization detailed in the indictment, as well as the results from the coordinated enforcement operations on May 24th, highlights the importance of our mission," stated Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Chicago Field Division, which includes the state of Wisconsin. "The relationship DEA has with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners allows us to collectively inflict severe blows to drug trafficking organizations, with the shared desire that the positive results will be felt in our communities."

United States Attorney James L. Santelle stated, “The recent indictment by the grand jury and the related law enforcement work both here in Eastern Wisconsin and other locations throughout the country reflect our continuing, aggressive pursuit of individuals who threaten the safety and security of our communities in many ways. The message to them and others is both clear and unconditional: Groups that distribute drugs, including but not limited to marijuana, will be identified, investigated, and charged for their serious criminal, conspiratorial conduct. Illegal gambling operations are also the targets of our work, and people who manage, finance, or in any way direct those types of unlawful gambling businesses will be brought to justice.”

USA Santelle continued, “These charges, the related property searches, and the arrests of the individuals indicted by the grand jury resulted from a multi-district investigation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who systematically and effectively assembled cases against the named defendants. For their exemplary work, I commend specially the hard-working detectives and officers of the Milwaukee Police Department and of the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. I also recognize and appreciate greatly the professional involvement and support of the agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration here in Eastern Wisconsin and elsewhere and of the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigations.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Sanders. The seventeen defendants charged with the marijuana trafficking conspiracy, if convicted, face between 10 years and life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000, and 5 years to life on supervised release. The thirteen defendants charged with operating an illegal gambling business, if convicted, face up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years on supervised release. The two defendants charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise, if convicted, face up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years on supervised release.

The public is reminded that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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