anchorage gang member sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for his role in drug and gun conspiracy
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today, July 12, 2010, that Phonesavanh Vongthongdy, of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced to17 years imprisonment for his role in a violent, multi-defendant drug conspiracy.
Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline imposed the sentence on Vongthongdy, age 23.
According to information presented in court by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Russo, Vongthongdy conspired to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine and over 500 grams of methamphetamine during the period July 2005, through September 2008. According to documents filed in the case, Vongthongdy was an enforcer for a violent drug gang headed by Juan Manuel Mendiola, who was convicted by an Anchorage jury last month. Vongthongdy pled guilty to drug conspiracy and possessing a .38 caliber revolver on October 31, 2007, in furtherance of the drug conspiracy.
Vongthongdy was arrested on December 16, 2008. In his pocket, agents found an Anchorage Daily News Crimestoppers article on the police requesting citizen assistance in locating Harold Graham, a co-defendant to Mendiola and Vongthongdy. The article contained Graham’s photograph. According to testimony at Mendiola’s trial, members of the drug gang were looking for Graham because they suspected him of cooperating with law enforcement, and wanted to shoot him. Graham was arrested by federal law enforcement before any threats could be carried out.
Prior to imposing sentence on Vongthongdy, Judge Beistline noted that Vongthongdy had been involved in the criminal justice system since he was 14-years-old, and told Vongthongdy that he was “more loyal to thugs and [his] gang affiliation than to the community.” According to court documents, Vongthongdy was an admitted member of the LOS (Little Oriental Soldiers) street gang.
The Anchorage Police Department’s Drug Enforcement Unit and Special Assignment Unit, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the DEA Anchorage District Office conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.