PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Anthony Bui, 57, of Philadelphia, PA, and owner of Asian Fish, Inc., of Egg Harbor, New Jersey, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in organizing and financing a network of high-tech, indoor, marijuana grow facilities stretching from Florida to Connecticut. Each of these facilities cost up to $100,000 to set up and equip with sophisticating lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems. The facilities were designed to produce millions of dollars worth of marijuana each year.
Bui began his drug dealing career by importing large amounts of high-grade marijuana into the United States from Canada. On December 8, 2001, U.S. Customs and Border Protection caught Bui trying to smuggle from the U.S. to Canada over $30,000 hidden in his socks to pay his Canadian suppliers. Eventually, Bui learned that it was more profitable for his organization to manufacture the marijuana in the United States.
Bui’s scheme began to unravel on June 30, 2005. On that day, one of his grow facilities in Staley, North Carolina caught fire. When firefighters arrived to put out the fire, they discovered that Bui and his associates were in the process of converting a former chicken warehouse into a massive marijuana grow operation. The firefighters then called the Randolph County, North Carolina Sheriffs Department who arrested Bui and two associates. The deputy sheriffs also seized over 600 marijuana plants and tens of thousands of dollars worth of grow equipment.
Further investigation by DEA led to the discovery of three additional marijuana grow facilities located in (1) Jacksonville, Florida, (2) New Britain, Connecticut, and (3) Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. More than a dozen members of Bui’s organization have been successfully investigated and prosecuted. The DEA’s investigation revealed that Bui used the proceeds from his marijuana distribution activities to finance his marijuana manufacturing operations. In addition, Bui used his commercial fishing company, Asian Fish, to disguise the source of the funds for the marijuana grow facilities. Bui invested tens of thousands of dollars from Asian Fish to purchase property and equipment for these and other marijuana grow facilities across the eastern seaboard.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge J. Curtis Joyner ordered Bui to pay a $20,000 fine and serve five years of supervised release.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David E. Fritchey and Trial Attorney Robert J. Livermore of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The case was investigated by special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Randolph County Sheriffs Department, the Birdsboro (PA) Police Department, the New Britain (CT) Police Department, the East Hartford (CT) Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police.