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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Two Spartanburg Brothers Among Five Men Sentenced in Federal Court for Roles in Methamphetamine, Marijuana, and Money Laundering Conspiracies

Anderson, South Carolina – United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that brothers Soeuth Ath, 46, and Sean Ath, 54, both of Spartanburg, South Carolina, were among five men sentenced to federal prison for their roles in bi-coastal methamphetamine, marijuana, and money laundering conspiracies.

United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Soeuth Ath to life in federal prison and Sean Ath to 151 months in federal prison, followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.

The Ath brothers were convicted by a federal jury after a week-long trial in January. Evidence showed that in 2016, a number of mail packages containing methamphetamine shipped from California to Spartanburg were intercepted by the United States Postal Inspector. A law enforcement investigation revealed that a group of individuals in the Spartanburg area with ties to Fresno and Bakersfield, California, were obtaining large amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana from sources in California via the U.S. Mail. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants received over 22 kilograms of high purity methamphetamine and at least 15 kilograms of marijuana for distribution in the Upstate of South Carolina. From April 2016 through January 2017, the defendants laundered at least $196,500 in drug trafficking proceeds from South Carolina to California.

Five additional co-conspirators pled guilty to federal drug and money laundering charges. Virig Chheng, 30, of Spartanburg, was sentenced to 328 months in federal prison, followed by five years of court-ordered supervision. Raymond Soeng, 33, of Boiling Springs, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, followed by three years of court-ordered supervision. Vilay Phabmisay, 25, of Bakersfield, California, was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison, followed by five years of court-ordered supervision. Two defendants, Anthony Pan, 23, of Bakersfield, and Junior Choeun, 24, of Spartanburg, await sentencing.    

The convictions are the result of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. The OCDETF Program is a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Its principal mission is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug-trafficking organizations primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.  The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance and cooperation of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Spartanburg City Police Department, and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Leesa Washington and Jeanne Howard of the Greenville office are prosecuting the case.


Drug Trafficking
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated November 15, 2018