Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Houston Area Ecstasy Conspiracy
|Aug. 31, 2012|
HOUSTON – A federal jury in Houston has returned its verdicts against three men in a multi-drug conspiracy operating in and around the Houston area over the course of approximately two years, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Thuong Thomas-More Vo, 36, Steven Marshal Boehning, 34, and Hung Van Dang, 36, all of Houston, were found guilty late yesterday of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a detectible amount of ecstasy, cocaine or marijuana after eight days of trial and approximately 10 hours of deliberations.
A total of 16 people were charged in two separate indictments in relation to this case. With the exception of the three in trial this week, all have pleaded guilty.
The investigation targeted a Vietnamese and Laotian drug trafficking organization operating in Houston. The group primarily distributed ecstasy, but was also involved in the distribution of cocaine and hydroponic marijuana. Vo, among others in this case, was affiliated with the Houston-based Asian gang, known as NCP or “Northside Chink Posse.”
At trial, the government presented evidence that Vo, Boehning and Dang dealt with a now deceased drug trafficker who supplied them with ecstasy. Vo, who has a prior federal ecstasy trafficking conviction, had served as the broker for that drug trafficker and introduced Boehning and Dang to him. Vo approved the quantities and prices of ecstasy sold to Boehning and Dang who would then sell the ecstasy to their clients.
Three others who also had dealings with the same ecstasy trafficker testified at trial and described the methods used by the dealer. Two, who contended they were customers, described where they would meet to conduct drug transactions with this dealer and testified as to the coded language they used over the telephone when speaking about drug trafficking. The third person stated he was the supplier and indicated he had provided thousands of ecstasy pills to the dealer during the course of this conspiracy.
An FBI agent provided additional testimony as to conversations that took place between the dealer and Vo, Boehning and Dang about their drug trafficking business.
Previously released on bond, Boehning and Dang were permitted to remain on bond while Vo was taken into custody pending their sentencing hearing which will be set a later date. At that time, they face up to 20 years in prison and a possible $1 million fine.
The case was the result of a two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed Operation Iron Hide, led by the FBI and assisted by the Houston Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Johnson and Rob Jones.