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Press Release

Bay Area Man Pleads Guilty to Central Valley-Based Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Tien Van Phan, 56, of the San Jose area, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana that was shipped from Fresno to Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, agents intercepted calls between co-defendants Elias Zambrano Jr., of Fresno; Tan Minh Vo, of San Jose; Halen Steven Patrick Frazier, of Kingsville, Missouri; and David Agustus McGowan, of Kansas City, Missouri, regarding the coordination of the shipment of approximately 92 pounds of marijuana to Frazier in Kansas City. On Nov. 9, 2018, law enforcement agents saw Phan load two suitcases into Frazier’s vehicle in Kansas City. After conducting a traffic stop, 92 pounds of marijuana was seized from Frazier’s vehicle.

Phan is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 22, 2021. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Frazier previously entered a guilty plea to the drug conspiracy and was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. Patrick Maldonado, of Madera, and Zambrano, who also face charges relating to the cocaine and firearms, along with Vo, are scheduled for a status conference in federal court in Fresno on Dec. 14. As to these defendants, the charges are only allegations; they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force consisting of agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Sheriff’s Offices of Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties, the Fresno Police Department, the Arizona Department of Health, and the Kansas City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 30, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:18-cr-253 DAD