Rhode Island Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Role in Nationwide Conspiracy that Trafficked Drugs Hidden in Toy Trucks, Disney Items and Halloween Decorations
BOSTON – Nine members and associates of the Asian Boyz (ABZ) gang have been charged in connection with drug trafficking conspiracies and dealing in firearms, including machinegun conversion devices – commonly known as “switches.”
The following were arrested and charged yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston:
The following defendant was also charged yesterday and is currently in state custody:
As alleged in court documents, the ABZ gang is one of the nation’s largest Asian street gangs. Members and associates of the ABZ gang are known to engage in illegal drug and firearm trafficking as well as acts of violence against rival gang members and associates. While ABZ gangs around the country operate independently of each other as far a structure and leadership, they use their ABZ gang network to facilitate their interstate narcotics and firearms trafficking.
According to court documents, Rath is a leader of the ABZ gang in Lowell and has been a self-admitted member of ABZ gang for at least the last 15 years. It is alleged that Son, Phim, Dao, Gingras and Holder are also members of the ABZ gang; Reyes and Bagrowski are associates of the ABZ gang and Chan is an associate of the Young Crip Hitters, a group aligned with the ABZ gang.
According to court documents, the defendants were part of a large drug distribution network that profited primarily from the sale of thousands of homemade counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine. It is alleged that the defendants worked together to manufacture, supply and distribute their significant supply of methamphetamine pills – including to an undercover officer on 12 different occasions between March 2022 and October 2022. Rath allegedly used a gang-affiliated business, “Money Affiliated,” to facilitate the distribution of narcotics. Rath produced and performed rap music, and he used “Money Affiliated” as a brand for the music, which prominently referenced the ABZ gang and featured other ABZ gang members, including Dao, Gingras, Phim and Holder. In total, the defendants are alleged to have distributed or possessed with intent to distribute approximately 12,100 counterfeit Adderall pills – weighing over 25 kilograms – containing methamphetamine, over 900 grams cocaine, over 400 grams of fentanyl and approximately 500 grams of para-Fluorofentanyl.
It is further alleged that, in addition to narcotics, the defendants also sold at least 15 firearms – including five machinegun conversion devices, an AR-type and “ghost guns” – magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition over the course of the investigation.
A search of the defendants’ residences following yesterday's arrests allegedly resulted in the recovery of multiple cellular telephones, approximately $1,000 in cash, approximately 1,000 counterfeit Adderall pills containing suspected methamphetamine, 300 Euros pills containing suspected MDMA/Ecstasy, a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number loaded with 9mm ammunition, a “ghost gun” pistol frame, magazines, firearms parts and a ballistics vest.
“The trafficking of firearms and deadly narcotics by violent criminal organizations is so corrosive and destructive. It makes the hard-working residents of these communities feel unsafe when they go about their daily lives – heading to work or school or just out to play,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “The defendants charged yesterday promoted violence and pumped poison into the Lowell community for a profit. This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to relentlessly investigate, identify and disrupt criminal organizations and do all that we can to ensure our communities are safe from violence and the proliferation of drugs and firearms. The U.S. Attorney’s Office offers the weight of the federal government, and we will not hesitate to bring our resources to the table to ensure our residents’ safety.”
“Yesterday, we charged nine members and associates of one of the nation’s largest Asian street gangs, who are alleged to have trafficked illegal firearms and controlled an illegal drug distribution network once belonging to their rivals. Rivals we removed from the streets of Lowell two years ago,” said Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “In peddling thousands of counterfeit prescription pills containing methamphetamine, and selling illegal firearms and machine gun conversion devices, we believe this dangerous criminal enterprise posed a direct threat to the people of Lowell. The positive impact made by removing these criminals from the streets of Lowell should immediately be felt.”
“ATF is proud to work shoulder to shoulder with our law enforcement partners to ensure everyone who is involved in illegal trafficking of firearms is held accountable, and this investigation highlights the power of this collaboration,” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division.
“I would like to thank our federal law enforcement partners including the FBI and ATF, the US Attorney's Office and Middlesex County District Attorney's Office for their continued collaboration on these complex, years long investigations which help keep our community safe. This operation targeted the Lowell based set of the nationally recognized ABZ street gang, which is a violent and prolific drug and firearms trafficking organization. The Lowell Police department is committed to working with all our law enforcement partners to disrupt these violent, drug and firearm trafficking organizations,” said Greg Hudon, Superintendent of the Lowell Police Department.
The charges of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of p-Fluorofentanyl; distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl; conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, each provide for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. The charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine each provide for a sentence of at least five year and up to life in prison, at least four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years up to life in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. The charges of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and transfer and possession of a machinegun each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting U.S. Attorney Levy; FBI Acting SAC DiMenna; ATF SAC Ferguson; and Lowell Police Superintendent Hudon made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office; Massachusetts State Police; and the Billerica, Haverhill, North Andover and Salem Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
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.