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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


MATT J. WHITWORTH


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


OCTOBER 1, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JURY CONVICTS INDEPENDENCE MAN

OF GROWING MARIJUANA


HUNDREDS OF PLANTS FOUND IN TWO HOMES


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today of growing hundreds of marijuana plants in two houses in Independence and Blue Springs.


            Tam Ba Tran, 47, of Independence, was found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and two counts of manufacturing marijuana.


            Law enforcement officers found 421 marijuana plants growing in the basement of a Blue Springs residence and 136 marijuana plants growing in the basement of an Independence residence. A total of 557 marijuana plants were found in the two residences, both of which were leased by Tran.


            Tran was under surveillance by a law enforcement officer on Oct. 16, 2007, as he purchased large quantities of items from several businesses that could be used to cultivate marijuana in indoor grow operations. Law enforcement officers approached Tran at his Independence residence and received permission to enter the residence. The entire basement of the residence contained a large indoor marijuana grow operation. The basement was divided into three rooms, each lined with reflective covering and containing numerous large sodium pressure lights. Only one of the rooms actually contained marijuana plants, as well as numerous grow lamps, large amounts of liquid fertilizer, transformers, vent fans, soil and a water source.


            Later that day, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the Blue Springs residence, where they found a similar marijuana grow operation. In addition to the marijuana plants, they recovered a black trash bag containing approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana and two packages of marijuana in the crisper box of the refrigerator, one weighing approximately a half pound and the other weighing approximately one and a half pounds.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about an hour before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Greg Kays, ending a trial that began Monday, Sept. 28, 2009.


            Under federal statutes, Tran is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes, IV. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Independence, Mo., Police Department.

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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