United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Burien Woman Convicted Of Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Conspiracies
Defendant Also Convicted of Two Counts of Wire Fraud for Lies on Loan Applications
A Burien woman was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle, of four felony counts connected to the laundering of illegal proceeds from the drug distribution conspiracy she managed with her husband. SVETLANA ANGEL YIM, 30, was responsible for trying to launder millions of dollars in drug proceeds. YIM’s husband, Drew Yim, 38, pleaded guilty in February 2012 to leading a large drug conspiracy that distributed a variety of illegal drugs from Mexico to Canada and east across the United States. After deliberating for about ten hours after a four week trial, jurors found that SVETLANA YIM played a key role in the conspiracy, laundering the millions of dollars in cash that kept the conspiracy going. YIM purchased property and cars in the names of other people, as well as expensive jewelry, boats and other luxuries. SVETLANA YIM faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison and up to life in prison for two counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman will schedule sentencing for later this year.
According to records in the case and testimony at trial, the YIM home above Puget Sound was the epicenter of the drug trafficking conspiracy. SVETLANA YIM did everything she could to hide the illegal source of the money rolling in from drug sales. She attempted to funnel the cash through 17 different bank accounts; she purchased a diamond ring for $35,000; on one day she purchased 22 different money orders at three different Safeway stores to avoid reporting laws on cash transactions over $10,000. YIM invested in properties held in other people’s names, and over eight years purchased seven new cars. But the “aura of wealth was built on the stench of drug dealing,” prosecutors said in their closing argument.
The drug dealing detailed in Drew Yim’s plea agreement is extensive. Using as many as 18 cell phones at one time, he directed the shipment of cocaine and methamphetamine from California into Washington and across the border into Canada. Drew Yim also directed the importation and distribution of MDMA (ecstasy) and BC Bud from Canada into Western Washington and then to other destinations across the U.S. For example, in June of 2010, Drew Yim arranged for a 19 kilo load of cocaine to be transported to Canada. In March and May 2011, Drew Yim arranged two more cocaine loads totaling 36 kilos to be transported into Canada. Canadian authorities seized some of the cocaine. Over five months in 2010, Drew Yim arranged for more than 700 pounds of marijuana to be transported into the U.S. in six different loads.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Drew Yim is forfeiting $1.4 million in cash that was seized during the course of the investigation. Yim is forfeiting six vehicles, a boat, 14 pieces of real property – including ten properties in the Spokane area, as well as property in Burien, Bothell, Enumclaw, and Renton, and four Rolex watches. All of the items seized were purchased with proceeds of the drug conspiracy. Following today’s verdict, jurors will be asked to decide whether SVETLANA YIM will also forfeit her interest in these properties.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.
The investigation was lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Seattle Police Department with assistance from the U.S. Marshal Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger Rogoff, Jerrod Patterson, and Richard Cohen.