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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


FEBRUARY 21, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION X-MEN


JURY CONVICTS FOUR MEN IN $2 MILLION

DRUG TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four defendants were convicted by a federal jury today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute hundreds of thousands of ecstasy pills, worth approximately $2 million, in Jackson County, Mo.


             Dempsey Johnson, 28, and Raphael L. Donnell, 32, both of Kansas City, Mo., Boun Rattanavong, 31, of Grand Prairie, Texas, and Dung A. Nguyen, 34, of Texas, were found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute ecstasy in Jackson County from Nov. 9, 2004, to Nov. 28, 2006. Johnson was also found guilty of participating in the conspiracy by distributing crack cocaine.


             Johnson, Donnell, Rattanavong and Nguyen are among 28 defendants charged in a July 19, 2007, superseding indictment. The rest of the defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug trafficking conspiracy except for one, who is a federal fugitive.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about nine hours over two days before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner, ending a trial that began Monday, Feb. 11, 2008.


             Johnson, Donnell, Rattanavong and Nguyen participated in a conspiracy that involved an estimated total of 350,000 or more ecstasy pills delivered to Kansas City from Texas. Evidence introduced in the trial included undercover drug transactions, surveillance and telephone taps that recorded conversations in which co-defendants discussed drug trafficking and firearms, including automatic weapons and assault rifles. The co-defendants were also found to be jointly and severally liable for a $2 million forfeiture to the government, which was derived from the proceeds of illegal drug trafficking.


             Nguyen and Rattanavong sold thousands of ecstasy pills to co-defendant Vu Nguyen Huynh, 24, of Arlington, Texas. Nguyen sold approximately 40,000 ecstasy pills to Huynh during 2006, representing about 10 to 15 percent of the pills that Huynh then distributed to co-defendant Derrick T. Seals, 28, of Kansas City, the managing member of the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Seals distributed ecstasy to other members of the conspiracy for distribution in the Kansas City area, including co-defendant Jason D. Cross, 23, of Kansas City.


             Donnell, a lower-level dealer, bought distribution-quantity amounts of that ecstasy from Cross and co-defendant Andre L. Brice, 26, of Kansas City, on seven occasions during the summer and fall of 2006. Each of those transactions involved dozens of pills, with one purchase totaling 175 pills.


             Johnson distributed both ecstasy and crack cocaine. On Dec. 8, 2005, Johnson sold to co-defendant Nicole Wyatt, 29, of Kansas City, 75 ecstasy pills and five grams of crack cocaine, which she then sold to an undercover law enforcement officer. Johnson sold over 150 grams of crack cocaine to co-defendant Jeffery E. Morgan, 29, of Kansas City.


            Under federal statutes, Johnson could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in prison without parole. Donnell, Rattanavong and Nguyen could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.


             The defendants who have pleaded guilty are Derrick T. Seals, also known as “D,” 28, Andre L. Brice, also known as “Dre,” 26, Jason D. Cross, 23, Brian C. Fennix, 42, Arron Hall, also known as “Black Ass,” 28, Adrian Wright, also known as “Fat A,” 31, Jeffery E. Morgan, also known as “Mooch,” 29, Nicole Wyatt, also known as “Co-Co,” 29, Jermaine Talley, also known as “Shorty,” 34, Adrian Washington, also known as “AD,” 27, Damon S. Bryant, also known as “D,” 38, Simona S. Bryant, also known as “Mo,” 36, Dimitri Jones, 30, and Delesha Hughes, 24, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Gerald E. Dunn, also known as “G,” 35, of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Maurice L. Davis, also known as “Reese,” 29, and Wayne A. Williams, 24, both of Kansas City, Kan.; Jon C. Crawford, 26, of Topeka, Kan.; Tremayne Tyler, also known as “Pig,” 36, and Shannon Dewayne Luckey, 34, both of Los Angeles, Calif.; Vu Nguyen Huynh, 24, and Quebe Seals, 28, both of Arlington, Texas; and James Robert Petersen, 34, of Dallas, Texas.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David DeTar Newbert. It was investigated by the Jackson County Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html