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Press Release

Eighth Defendant Sentenced For Drug Trafficking And Conducting Illegal Cash Transactions

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

FRESNO, Calif. — A Tacoma, Wash. man was sentenced today for participating in an oxycodone and hydrocodone trafficking conspiracy where co-conspirators obtained prescriptions from a Central Valley doctor, filled them in area pharmacies and mailed the drugs to Washington and other states, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced David Ruem, 32, to 10 years and one month in prison for his role in the drug trafficking conspiracy and for conducting illegal cash transactions to evade reporting requirements. Ruem was indicted with 12 others on April 11, 2013, and pleaded guilty in February 18, 2014. According to court documents, the defendants obtained prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone from a doctor in Visalia, filled those prescriptions at pharmacies in Modesto, and then transported or mailed the pills to Washington for distribution on the black market. After illegally selling the pills, the defendants then deposited the cash proceeds of those sales into bank accounts held by the defendants in California.

In addition, Ruem admitted to structuring deposits of $145,000 into various accounts opened by co‑conspirators in California. Deposits and withdrawals were made in amounts less than $10,000 to prevent the bank from filing Currency Transaction Reports that banks are required to file on transactions greater than $10,000. These reports are filed with the Department of Treasury and are made available to law enforcement.

This case is being brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.

This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case.

Seven co-defendants have been sentenced as follows:
Phary Chim, of Kent, Wash.: four years and three months in prison;
Sdey Chim, of Modesto: three years and 10 months in prison;
Chanrath Yath, of Modesto: three years and four months in prison;
Phally Thach, of Modesto: two and a half years in prison;
Raeb Chou, of Modesto: two years in prison;
Cindy Doeum, of Kent, Wash.: three years of probation; and
Chantha Chim, of Murietta: three years of probation.

In connection with this case, on June 7, 2013, Visalia doctor Terrill Eugene Brown, 62, was charged with conspiracy to dispense oxycodone, dispensing of oxycodone and hydrocodone, and structuring currency transactions to avoid bank reporting requirements. The charges against him and the remaining five defendants are pending. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 8, 2015

Press Release Number: Docket #: 1:13-cr-136-AWI-BAM