News Release
December 11, 2008
Contact: SA Sarah Pullen
Public Information Officer
Phone Number: 213-621-6827

DEA Operation Targets Ecstasy Trafficking Group Based in Rosemead, California

DEC 11 -- (LOS ANGELES) Thirteen members of an MDMA (or ecstasy), trafficking organization have been named in a federal indictment that alleges the distribution of hundreds of thousands of ecstasy tablets throughout the Los Angeles area. On December 10, 2008, during a law enforcement operation involving more than 100 federal, state and local authorities, 8 defendants were taken into custody on the federal charges. This operation caps a 15-month OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) investigation conducted by DEA and in conjunction with the Montebello Police Department.

“Ecstasy is a serious threat to our communities, and particularly our teens and youth who are often unaware of the significant harm this drug can cause,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “Today, we have taken off the streets a criminal organization that was responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of ecstasy tablets. These indictments serve notice that DEA and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the illegal trafficking of Ecstasy in our communities.”

This organization was based in Rosemead, California and led by Vi Kien Tang and his brother, John Tang. The investigation revealed that the Tang brothers were involved in distributing MDMA, ketamine and marijuana throughout Southern California, Phoenix and Las Vegas. To date, the investigation has resulted in the seizure of approximately $136,782 in U.S. Currency, 63,500 MDMA tablets, 110 vials of ketamine, 43 pounds of marijuana and 3 vehicles.

“The indictment and arrests demonstrate the continued vigilance and cooperation of federal and state authorities,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Through these officers’ hard work, we have been able to dismantle a lucrative international ecstasy smuggling ring.” 

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic, psychoactive illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic. Although MDMA is known universally among users as ecstasy, researchers have determined that many ecstasy tablets contain not only MDMA but also a number of other drugs or drug combinations, including methamphetamine. During this investigation, many of the ecstasy tablets seized contained detectable amounts of methamphetamine.

Those arrested as a result of the indictment are:

  • Vi Kien Tang, 32, of Rosemead, California
  • John Tang, 25, of Rosemead, California
  • Ashley Noelle Morse, 21, of Westlake Village, California
  • Xin Zheng, 28, of Rosemead, California
  • Ron Dee Lee, 34, of Pasadena, California
  • Lyndon Luc, 27, of El Monte, California
  • Wug Pin Cheong, 26, of Arcadia, California
  • Yi Cheong Ho, 27, of Alhambra, California

The five defendants still being sought by federal authorities are:

  • Jacob Michael Day, 22, of Simi Valley, California
  • Yu Lap Kum, 31, of El Monte, California
  • Tuyen Quan Ngo, 35, of Alhambra, California
  • Nicholas Herndon, 24, of Phoenix, Arizona
  • “Vietnamese Lady”

This OCDETF investigation received significant contributions from: Internal Revenue Service, California Highway Patrol, Pasadena Police Department, Montebello Police Department, West Covina Police Department, Monterey Park Police Department, Redondo Beach Police Department, Fullerton Police Department, El Monte Police Department, Downey Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, DEA Carlsbad Resident Office, DEA Hong Kong Country Office, DEA Vancouver Country Office, DEA Phoenix Field Division, United States Attorney’s Office.

This investigation is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles United States Attorney’s Office. Any questions regarding this investigation should be directed to Assistant United States Attorney Cameron Schroeder at (213) 894-0596. The defendants arrested are expected to make their initial appearances this morning in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

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