News and Press Releases

Men Snared by Federal Agents after BC Bud Bust Near the Border

September 15, 2006

MA BA DINH, 39, of Renton, Washington and DENTE RYAN, 33, of Seattle, Washington were sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik today in connection with a marijuana distribution ring. DINH was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. RYAN was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. The two men did not know each other at the time of their arrest on October 7, 2005. Both were attempting to pick up marijuana, BC Bud, from a third defendant, Antonio Ramos, who remains a fugitive on these charges.

According to court filings, Antonio Ramos was arrested in Blaine, Washington after retrieving four hockey bags of BC Bud that had been smuggled by boat into the United States. The bags contained more than 185 pounds of marijuana. The street value of the marijuana was more than $500,000. Ramos agreed to cooperate with law enforcement as he delivered the marijuana to two distributors, RYAN and DINH. Agents arrested DINH at South Center Mall in Tukwila when he arrived and prepared to drive off with two bags of marijuana. RYAN was arrested in the area of the Mall when he showed up to pick up his share of the marijuana – about 75 pounds. At RYAN’s home investigators found a shotgun and semi-automatic handgun, as well as a scale, money counter, a heat sealer and heat sealing materials – all evidence of the drug trade. RYAN admitted he had been working for a Canadian drug dealer for about two years.

At sentencing RYAN said he had been addicted to marijuana, smoking two ounces each day. “At the Federal Detention Center I had a wake-up call and realized I was heading down the wrong path,” RYAN said. RYAN said he has been clean since his arrest, feels good, and no longer “needs to look over my shoulder anymore.” Judge Lasnik congratulated RYAN on his work on the drug addiction, but said there was still a price to pay for his role as a drug dealer.

At his sentencing DINH apologized for doing something “stupid” and illegal. He said he needed the money to help his family and parents, who are immigrants from Viet Nam. Judge Lasnik found DINH deserved a lower sentence because he played a minor role as a drug courier.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Janet Freeman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206)553-4110.

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