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Press Release

Westwego Woman Pleads Guilty to Concealing Marijuana Trafficking Activities

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

U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that TRAM NGUYEN, age 32, of Westwego, pled guilty today to a Bill of Information charging her with misprision of a drug trafficking felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 4. 

According to court documents, Louisiana State Police seized a shipment containing approximately 420 pounds of marijuana hidden in 12 steel drums and bound for a Westwego warehouse where NGUYEN lived with her boyfriend, Michael Kwan. Shipping records showed that Kwan had received numerous similar shipments from his California supplier in the past, and a search of the Westwego warehouse revealed another 161 similar steel drums. In March 2018, Kwan pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, and conspiring to launder the proceeds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), (a)(1)(B)(i), and (h). For the drug charge, he 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, he faces up to twenty years in prison, a fine of $500,000, and up to five years of supervised release.

NGUYEN admitted to concealing Kwan’s felony trafficking by depositing into her bank accounts checks written from local seafood restaurants and retailers for the purchase of seafood that Kwan had earlier bought with proceeds from his marijuana trafficking, and by transferring funds derived from the trafficking activities from bank to bank to avoid detection, seizure, and forfeiture by law enforcement.

For the misprision offense, NGUYEN faces a term of imprisonment of up to three years, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release.

Judge Zainey set sentencing for January 8, 2019.

United States Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Louisiana State Police, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas D. Moses and Jeffrey Sandman are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated October 3, 2018

Drug Trafficking