News and Press Releases

Deposited More than $150,000 in Cash: Proceeds of Marijuana Distribution

March 16, 2007

TRINH TUYET VU, 37, of Kent, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. VU was indicted in connection with a marijuana and ecstasy smuggling ring. Twenty-nine people have been indicted in connection with the “This Buds Pho You” investigation. VU will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on June 15, 2007.

Twenty-two people were arrested in the Seattle area on September 6, 2006, following a lengthy wiretap investigation. At the time of those arrests agents seized an indoor marijuana grow with more than 450 plants, 1100 tablets of MDMA, some cocaine and more than $3.2 million in cash and assets. According to the charging documents, the conspirators were heard on a court-authorized wiretap brokering deals involving the sale of marijuana and MDMA. This investigation was dubbed “This Buds Pho You” because targets of this investigation would refer to marijuana as “Pho,” a type of Vietnamese soup.

VU is the seventh person in the case to plead guilty. The remaining defendants are scheduled to go to trial on April 23, 2007.

The wiretap investigation has lead to additional arrests. Three defendants were arrested today and made their initial court appearances. DAI TRONG TRAN, of Federal Way, Washington, LAM QUANG TRAN, of Maple Valley, Washington, and PHUOC TAN NGUYEN of Auburn, Washington, are charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana, and four counts of Possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute. The men were arrested at their residences with a combined total of more than 1400 marijuana plants. All three men indicated to law enforcement that they had come to Washington from Canada to tend to marijuana grows.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The cases were investigated by DEA and the Seattle Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Washington State Patrol, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department, Puyallup Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department, Auburn Police Department, Department of Corrections, and the King Country Sheriff’s Office.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Whalley, Lisca Borichewski, and Doug Hill.

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

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