News and Press Releases

Canadian Man Sentenced To 12 Years For Drug Trafficking

May 27, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Ontario, Canada, has been sentenced in federal court to 72 months  imprisonment on his conviction of violating federal drug laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Kieu Dang Cao, 41.

According to information presented to the court, beginning in 2004 and continuing through July 2008, a Canadian drug trafficking group began smuggling 300 pound loads of high‑grade, hydroponic marijuana across the border into the United States, hidden within legitimate commercial cargo.  The marijuana was destined for the Pittsburgh area, and at least six cities in other states.  It wholesaled for $2,000 per pound or more, with the retail or "street" value being several multiples of that.

Cao controlled the network that smuggled the marijuana across the U.S. ‑ Canadian border, and worked with the Pittsburgh‑area group that distributed the marijuana in Western Pennsylvania.  Court‑ordered wiretaps in the United States and Canada in 2008 produced recordings of Cao discussing drug shipments with his Pittsburgh buyers.  Agents in Pittsburgh made cash seizures in excess of $1,000,000 in drug proceeds in this case, and their counterparts in Canada seized several million dollars in assets.

Fifteen individuals were indicted in this case, eight citizens of the United States and seven Canadians.  Six of the Canadians have been extradited to the United States, while one Canadian remains a fugitive. Thirteen defendants have now entered pleas of guilty, and another is awaiting trial.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory J. Nescott prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration (Pittsburgh and Buffalo), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Greater Toronto Area Drug Section, the Asian Organized Crime Task Force of Ontario, and the Canada Border Services Agency, along with the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the City of Pittsburgh Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Kieu Dang Cao.

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