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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Fifteen Alleged Gang Members and Associates Charged with Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering and Counterfeiting Offenses

BOSTON – Fifteen members and associates of a Lowell-based gang, One Family Clique (OFC), have been charged, and 14 were arrested today, for allegedly perpetrating large-scale and long-running drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies. In the course of the investigation, agents seized or purchased approximately 2.32 kilograms of cocaine, 10.78 kilograms of methamphetamine, 41 grams of fentanyl, 30 grams of MDMA, 513 grams of heroin, $104,396 in cash and three firearms. One defendant remains a fugitive.

As alleged in court documents, in August 2018, law enforcement began investigating OFC in response to a dramatic spike in shootings and gang violence in Lowell. OFC is an alliance between several gangs in and around Lowell with ties to gangs in California and other states. Sarath Yut is the founder and leader of OFC and also a member of the subgroup, Crazy Mob Family gang. In 2018 and 2019, at least 12 incidents of gunfire in the Lowell area are alleged to be attributable to gang-motivated hostilities between OCF and its rivals.

Since at least 2019, Yut, and co-defendants allegedly used the U.S. Postal Service to receive shipments of illegal narcotics, and, in return, to ship cash proceeds to Yut’s sources of supply. It is alleged that Yut maintained stash houses in Lowell, which also served as venues for gang meetings and other events furthering the gang’s illegal activities. In addition, controlled purchases of drugs and a firearm were made from defendants Virak Prum, Peouveasnah Pin and Sambo Buth.

 It is further alleged that, in August 2019, Pin and Buth dealt in counterfeit money, by providing “protection” to a cooperating witness, who purported to purchase $100,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency from an undercover agent. Buth and Pin transferred and delivered the counterfeit currency from Cambridge, Mass. to New Hampshire, where it was received by another undercover agent. In a May 2021 undercover operation, defendants Prum, Pin, Samoeun Kem and Richard Sam, allegedly provided “protection” to a shipment, purportedly of drug money from Europe, from black tar heroin sales. The defendants helped pack a shipment of money into a truck and escorted it from New York to New Hampshire.   

“We allege that leaders and members of the One Family Clique trafficked drugs and firearms, contributing to the kind of violence we all know destroys communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “The Lowell Police Department is committed to defending its community, so they joined with federal and state law enforcement partners to conduct an investigation that yielded targeted arrests of key people who we allege were promoting drug distribution and violence in Lowell. The residents of Lowell will enjoy a safer summer thanks to the work of investigators and our prosecutors.”

“Operation Street Roulette is another example of how the FBI and our law enforcement partners work together to dismantle large-scale criminal enterprises that endanger our communities. With today’s removal of illegal narcotics, firearms, and these 15 members and associates of One Family Clique from the streets, the citizens of Lowell are immediately safer,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “We believe this crew jeopardized public safety, and steadily poisoned the parts of Lowell they controlled, dealing large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, while conspiring to launder their profits to hide what they were doing. We will not cede our cities to drug pushers who have absolutely no regard for the harm and violence they bring into our neighborhoods, and the FBI will stop at nothing to investigate, disrupt, and hold accountable those who try to fill the void left by today’s arrests.”

“In August of 2018, when I was appointed as Superintendent, I vowed to stop the violence in our city,” said Lowell Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson. “Knowing that most of the violence stemmed from illegal drug activity, and knowing that many involved had gone underground, I made it a top priority. Without hesitation the FBI, along with our officers, began a deep and protracted investigation that has led to today's arrests. I would like to thank the FBI and our partner investigative agencies for their ingenuity, tenacity and dedication. This investigation highlights the importance of partnerships. It not only strengthened this partnership but also, most importantly, has made this city safer for its residents, students and visitors.”

“Drug trafficking organizations exist for one reason: to make money,” said Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office.  “By targeting their finances with today’s investigative actions, IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are dismantling these dangerous groups that wreak havoc on our communities.”

“Today’s arrests reflect the ongoing efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our law enforcement partners to disrupt Drug Trafficking Organizations in our communities,” said Joshua W. McCallister, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division. “Using the U.S. Mail to facilitate drug trafficking and the associated proceeds, will not be tolerated. We will continue to preserve the integrity of the U.S. Mail while also protecting our employees and the American public.”

“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling violent poly drug trafficking organizations like these operating in the Greater Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Division. “As we all know, drug trafficking in our communities, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and communities. This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen. DEA and its local, state and federal partners are dedicated to bringing to justice those that commit these crimes.”

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base, fentanyl, MDMA, 500 grams or more of cocaine and 500 grams or more of methamphetamine provides for mandatory minimum sentences of five and 10 years and up to life in prison, at least three years and up to life of supervised release, a fine of up to $10 million and forfeiture of assets traceable to the trafficking offenses. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $500,000, or twice the amount of the property involved, whichever is greater, and forfeiture of assets traceable to the laundering offenses. The charge of dealing in counterfeit obligations and securities provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta, Lowell Police Superintendent Richardson, IRS-CI Acting SAC Covington, USPIS Acting Inspector McCallister and DEA Boston SAC Boyle made the announcement. The investigation was led by the FBI’s Merrimack Valley Transnational Organized Crime Task Force and assistance was provided by the DEA-San Jose Task Force and Long Beach and Santa Clara (California) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Moran, Fred Wyshak, III, and Alexandra W. Amrhein of Mendell’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

APPENDIX

The following defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury:

  1. Sarath Yut, a/k/a “Black,” 34, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base, fentanyl, MDMA, 500 grams or more of cocaine and 500 grams or more of methamphetamine;
  2. Virak Prum, a/k/a “Polo,” 34, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine, MDMA and 500 grams or more of cocaine;
  3. Peouveasnah Pin, a/k/a “Poe,” 31, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy, dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine, MDMA and 500 grams or more of cocaine;
  4. Sambo Buth, a/k/a “Chewy,” 31, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy, dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, methamphetamine, MDMA and 40 grams or more of fentanyl;
  5. Sambath Lay, a/k/a “G,” 34, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  6. Mark Yin, a/k/a “Markass,” 30 of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  7. Christopher Phann, a/k/a “Kree,” 29, of Medford, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  8. Darasy Chhim, a/k/a “Mystickal,” 35, of Lowell, was charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  9. Sriphan Keomany, a/k/a “C-Pon,” 43, of Lowell, was charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  10. Vongnaroth Proeung, a/k/a “Sunny,” 32 of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  11. Victory Thorn, 34, of Hudson, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  12. Chomroeun Keo, a/k/a “Shrek,” 38, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  13. Gaius Monteyro, a/k/a “G-Made,” 36 of Lowell, was charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA;
  14. Samoeun Kem, a/k/a “Crazy One,” 35, of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy; and
  15. Richard Sam, a/k/a “Lil Stomper,” 30 of Lowell, was charged with money laundering conspiracy.
Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated June 16, 2021