News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Central Fresno BZP Dealer Convicted

JAN 29 -- FRESNO, Calif.—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that THANONGSACK PHUANGKEO, 33, of Fresno, entered a guilty plea to possessing with intent to distribute N-benzylpiperazine, also known as BZP.

This prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Fresno Resident Office and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar, who is prosecuting the case, court documents indicate that PHUANGKEO was arrested as a result of the execution of a search warrant at his residence, which is across the street from DeWolf High School. Narcotic agents found a large quantity of N-benzylpiperazine, aka BZP, along with a small quantity of MDMA or ecstasy tablets, a triple beam scale, a small quantity of marijuana, marijuana trimmings, and Oakland Cannabis Club documentation.

BZP is a powerful stimulant with no medicinal value. The abuse of BZP was first reported in late 1996 in California. It has increasingly been found in similar venues as the popular club drug MDMA or ecstasy. BZP is often sold as MDMA, promoted as an alternative to MDMA, and is targeted to the youth population. The combination of BZP and MDMA can be fatal.

PHUANGKEO faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, and a term of supervised release for at least three years for each count, if convicted. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.

PHUANGKEO is scheduled to appear for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on April 23, 2010.