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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Westwego Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking More Than 1,000 Kilograms of Marijuana and Laundering the Proceeds

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MICHAEL KWAN, age 33, of Westwego, pled guilty today to two counts of an indictment charging marijuana trafficking and money laundering offenses, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, and 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), (a)(1)(B)(i), and (h). 

According to court documents, Louisiana State Police seized a shipment containing approximately 420 pounds of marijuana hidden in 12 steel drums and bound for KWAN’s Westwego warehouse. Shipping records showed that KWAN had received numerous similar shipments from his California supplier in the past, and a search of KWAN’s Westwego warehouse revealed another 161 similar steel drums.  KWAN admitted to laundering the proceeds from his marijuana trafficking by using the drug money to buy seafood from fishermen before reselling it to restaurants and seafood retailers. 

KWAN pled guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiring to launder the proceeds.  For the drug charge, KWAN faces a term of imprisonment of at least ten years and up to life, a fine of up to $10,000,000, and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  For the money laundering charge, KWAN faces up to twenty years in prison, a fine of $500,000, and up to five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Judge Zainey set sentencing for June 16, 2018.

United States Attorney Evans praised the work of the Louisiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas D. Moses and Jeffrey Sandman are in charge of the prosecution.

Drug Trafficking
Updated March 20, 2018