Arrests Made in “Operation Broken Bonds,” an Investigation into Violent Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Gun Trafficking in the Central Valley Committed by Gang Members and Associates
FRESNO, Calif. — Tan Minh Vo, 50, of San Jose, was sentenced today to three years and one month in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana that was shipped from Fresno for distribution in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in November 2018, Vo and his co-defendants Patrick Maldonado, 46, of Madera; Elias Zambrano, Jr., 43, of Fresno; Tien Van Phan, 58, of Milpitas; Halen Frazier, 36, of Kingsville, Missouri; and David Agustus McGowan, of Kansas City, Missouri, coordinated the shipment of nearly 500 pounds of marijuana to Frazier in Kansas City. The first shipment was seized from Frazier during a traffic stop after Phan, Vo’s courier, delivered 92 pounds of marijuana to him in two suitcases at a hotel in Kansas City.
Later, agents intercepted calls between Vo, Maldonado, Zambrano, and Frazier in which they discussed the shipment of another load of marijuana to Frazier in Kansas City. That load was intercepted by Arizona troopers after stopping McGowan for nonfunctioning tail lights on his truck. During a search of the trailer, troopers found 384 pounds of marijuana and $1,629 in cash in a hidden compartment.
Following these seizures, agents executed search warrants at Vo’s residence and place of business in San Jose, as well as Maldonado’s residence in Madera and Zambrano’s residence in Fresno. At Vo’s residence, agents found $24,700 and another $20,000 in cash on Vo’s person, which represented proceeds derived from drug trafficking. At his place of business, FIND-BUY-ITEMS, agents found 70 pounds of marijuana and indoor marijuana cultivation equipment. At Maldonado’s residence, agents found 4 kilograms of cocaine, 20 pounds of packaged marijuana, a firearm, and over $45,000 in cash. At Zambrano’s residence, agents found two loaded firearms, more marijuana, and an electronic money counter.
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 Public Safety, and the Kansas City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Maldonado, Zambrano, and Frazier previously entered guilty pleas to the drug conspiracy. Maldonado was sentenced to seven years in prison. Both Zambrano and Frazier were sentenced to two years and three months in prison. The charges against McGowan are pending. As to him, the charges are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.