News and Press Releases

Methamphetamine Distribution Scheme Results in Life Sentence

January 31, 2012
Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney

US Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Worthington, Minnesota, man charged in a drug distribution scheme was sentenced on January 30, 2012, by Chief United States District Judge Karen E. Schreier. Viengxay Chantharath, age 51, was sentenced to life in prison.

Chantharath was indicted for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine by a federal grand jury on September 7, 2011. He and a co-defendant were found guilty of the offense on October 31, 2011, after a five-day trial.

Chantharath also has two prior felony drug convictions.

Seventeen individuals were charged in the conspiracy. Two defendants are in custody and await trial; two are fugitives; one is awaiting sentencing; and 11 have pled guilty.

During the course of the conspiracy, Chantharath obtained methamphetamine from sources of supply and often traveled from Worthington to Sioux Falls where he stayed in local motels. He distributed methamphetamine to his co-defendants and others, who in turn sold it to other customers.

“Mr. Chantharath’s days of poisoning South Dakota communities with methamphetamine are now over, and he will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison cell, ” said U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson. “This outcome is a result of the outstanding collaboration and commitment of our federal, state, and local law enforcement officers.”

This case was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sioux Falls Police Department, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and several law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. Assistant US Attorneys John E. Haak and Amy M. Koopmann prosecuted the case.

Chantharath was immediately turned over to the custody of the US Marshal.



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