Skip to main content
Press Release

Defendant on Ten Most Wanted List Extradited from Canada to the United States to Face Drug Trafficking Charges

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

DETROIT - A dual citizen of Laos and Canada on Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Ten Most Wanted list was extradited this week by the government of Canada to the United States to face drug trafficking charges in Detroit, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Angie M. Salazar, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detroit Field Division.

According to court records, Khaophone Sychantha, age 41, was first indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan in December 2005. Further investigation by agents of HSI Detroit led to charges in a superseding indictment returned in October 2013, charging Sychantha and three additional defendants. Sychantha is charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, ecstasy, BZP, and marijuana between 2003 and 2011. He is also charged with three counts of possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Following these American indictments, Sychantha was also charged and arrested in Canada on three separate Canadian criminal cases. In 2014, Sychantha fled while under house arrest in Canada. HSI Detroit subsequently added Sychantha to the Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Ten Most Wanted List and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

In 2017, Sychantha was arrested in the Montreal, Canada area following an assault on a police officer and a short pursuit. Since his 2017 arrest, Sychantha has remained in Canadian custody while he contested his extradition to the United States along with two Canadian co-defendants.   Sychantha made his initial appearance in federal court in Detroit yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti.

“I commend the work of the agents from HSI and Canadian law enforcement for pursuing this long-time fugitive and significant drug trafficker,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “Thanks to the coordinated efforts of our international partners, Sychantha will now face justice in the United States.”

“HSI will continue to work with our partners both in the United States and across the globe to hold criminals accountable,” said HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Angie M. Salazar. “More than a decade has passed since this investigation began.  I am proud of the HSI special agents, prosecutors, and law enforcement who did not let the passage of time prevent them from bringing the defendant to justice.”

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged.  The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detroit Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carl D. Gilmer-Hill. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Canada.

Updated May 12, 2023

Drug Trafficking