News and Press Releases

Leader of Ecstasy and Marijuana Ring Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Chen Chieh Yam, 29, of Hyattsville, Md., was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison today for leading an Ecstasy and marijuana distribution ring in Northern Virginia.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge T. S. Ellis, III.

            On April 14, 2010, Yam pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy (MDMA) and marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Today, he was sentenced to 110 months of imprisonment for the drug and money laundering conspiracies to be followed by 60 months of imprisonment for the firearm offense.

            In the statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Yam admitted being a manager and supervisor of the drug organization and supplying a number of local dealers with Ecstasy and marijuana.  Yam admitted being responsible for the distribution of approximately 50,000 Ecstasy tablets over a one-year period, approximately 7,000 of which were sold to an undercover officer at Tysons Corner mall.  Yam admitted providing one of his dealers with a handgun, which was later stolen during a burglary but then recovered by the police during a search warrant in February 2010.  Yam also admitted laundering drug money through a bank account established with the help of co-defendant Tam Tran.  As part of his sentence, Yam agreed to forfeit two cars, five firearms and a total of $500,000 in cash.

            Yam is the second defendant from this investigation to be sentenced.  Seven other defendants have been charged and each also has pleaded guilty.  Co-defendant Jonathan Pai was previously sentenced to nine years in prison on June 25, 2010.  The remaining defendants are:

  • Tofun Ali Ghasri, 22, Manassas, Va., who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana.
  • Paul Bang, 18, Centreville, Va., who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana.
  • Quang Huy Ho, 22, Fairfax, Va., who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana.
  • Jeff L. Tsu, 31, Vienna, Va., who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana.
  • Tam Phuong Tran, 23, Chantilly, Va., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Theodore Li, 24, Fairfax, Va., who pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This case is being investigated as part of Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation Deadly Catch by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia State Police, the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department and the Fairfax County Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. Grooms and Special Assistant United States Attorney Tritia Yuen.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

 

 

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