Canadian Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison For Hydroponic Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Ontario, Canada, has been sentenced in federal court to 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by5 years of supervised release 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 Thang Dinh Le, age 39.
According to information presented to the court, between 2004 and July 2008, a Canadian group smuggled 300 pounds at a time of high-grade, hydroponic marijuana into the United States from Canada. The marijuana was destined for Pittsburgh and six other American cities. It wholesaled for $2,000 or more per pound. with the retail value being in excess of $4,000 per pound. During the conspiracy, millions of dollars in drug proceeds were carried back into Canada.
Le worked within 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 discussing drug shipments between the Canadian source and his Pittsburgh buyers. On February11, 2008, Le was apprehended by agents in downtown Pittsburgh and was found to be carrying $226,250 in drug cash, concealed in a briefcase. 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.
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 Thang Dinh Le.