June 22, 2009
ECSTASY TRAFFICKER SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
(HOUSTON) – A Canadian citizen responsible for distributing more than 200,000 Ecstasy pills in the Houston area has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
Duc Vi Huynh, 34, convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly called Ecstasy or MDMA, has been sentenced to 240 months confinement in a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility without parole. Huynh pleaded guilty to the federal drug trafficking offense in November 2008. He has been in custody since his arrest by FBI agents and Houston Police Department (HPD) officers who jointly investigated the case.
In July 2007, acting on a tip from a cooperating witness, FBI agents and HPD officers of the FBI-HPD Asian Organized Crime Task Force stopped a car driven by Khoa Tuan Nguyen and Anh Biet Ngo and discovered approximately 22,000 Ecstasy/MDMA pills. Determining that additional contraband was likely to be hidden in a nearby associated townhouse, agents and officers established surveillance of the townhouse. Numerous people were seen entering and/or leaving the townhouse with suspicious packages. Each person departing the townhouse with a suspicious package was stopped by HPD patrol officers. Each stop resulted in additional arrests as additional amounts of Ecstasy/MDMA were discovered and seized. During that one month, agents recovered approximately 117,000 MDMA pills as part of their task force effort and Huynh was subsequently identified as the person who provided all of the Ecstasy/MDMA pills, which came from Canada, that were intercepted by law enforcement in July 2007.
Shortly after the July 2007 enforcement action, through yet another source of information, Huynh was contacted by telephone to discuss the purchase of an additional 150,000 Ecstasy/MDMA pills for $375,000. Huynh agreed to the deal, and traveled to Huntsville, Texas, on Dec. 21, 2007, to consummate the transaction with an FBI undercover agent. During the meeting, Huynh explained to the agent that the pills were being transported by third parties unknown to him and that he could communicate with them only by calling a telephone number in Canada that was answered by yet another person who acted as a “cut-out” to protect the MDMA load and all concerned parties from law enforcement detection. The Ecstasy/MDMA pills never materialized for this deal. Huynh subsequently explained to the agent that the drivers were “sick,” meaning had been arrested, in another state. Through further investigation, the FBI later learned that Tennessee law enforcement officers had intercepted a vehicle bearing approximately 250,000 MDMA pills during the relevant time-frame. FBI agents believed the intercepted shipment was intended, in part, to fill the order placed by the undercover agent. Through his conversation with the agent, Huynh clearly implicated himself in the conspiracy to supply the MDMA pills intercepted by the FBI in July 2007 and was later arrested.
To date, the following seven additional co-conspirators -- all U. S. citizen -- have been charged, convicted and sentenced as a result of the investigation leading to the arrest of Huynh: Dung Hoang Nguyen (156 months), Hoang-Nam Nguyen (68 months), An Biet Ngo (70 months), Toan Bao Nguyen (60 months), Khoa Tuan Nguyen (65 months), Son Anh Nguyen (46 months) and Toan Huu Pham (12 months). Thuc Tri Phan jumped bond after pleading guilty in connection with this conspiracy and remains a fugitive. A warrant remains outstanding for his arrest.
The FBI-HPD Asian Organized Crime Task Force is part of an ongoing multi-agency approach to identifying, infiltrating and prosecuting organized crime in the Houston area. This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark W. White III and Joseph Magliolo.
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