Canadian Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Role in Drug Smuggling Operation Between Canada and the United States
WASHINGTON - Hieu Phan, 36, of New Market, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his role in the Benjamin Ton drug trafficking organization, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent-in-Charge John Bryfonski of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Office. Phan was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond to pay a $2,500 fine.
According to court documents, between 2002 and 2004, the Benjamin Ton drug trafficking organization imported more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana and 300,000 ecstasy pills into the United States from various Asian organized crime groups in Canada. Hieu Phan acted as the Ton organization’s representative in Toronto. Phan admitted that he negotiated prices and terms of delivery with the drug trafficking organizations in Canada that manufactured the drugs. In addition, Phan ensured that these drug trafficking organizations were paid promptly for the massive amounts of drugs the Ton organization was purchasing. During the course of the conspiracy, the Ton organization smuggled approximately $25 million in U.S. currency to Canada to pay for these drugs. On one occasion, Phan arranged to smuggle a firearm into the United States concealed in a vehicle, along with a shipment of 55,000 ecstasy pills. In November 2004, DEA special agents stopped the vehicle in Ft. Washington, Penn., and seized the drugs and the firearm.
On Feb. 21, 2007, Hieu Phan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import and conspiracy to distribute marijuana and ecstasy, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, possession of methamphetamine and ecstasy with the intent to distribute, and importation of a firearm.
For the past several years, the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have been working closely with the DEA, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and various Canadian law enforcement agencies, to crack down on these Asian organized crime groups that smuggle billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States from Canada each year.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Fritchey and Trial Attorneys Marty Woelfle and Robert J. Livermore of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The case was investigated by DEA special agents and law enforcement officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Criminal Organization Marihuana Enforcement Team.
The investigation also received assistance from ICE, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Ontario Provincial Police Department and the Toronto Metropolitan Police Department.