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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Three Minnesota Residents Sentenced in Marijuana Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that three Worthington, Minnesota, residents charged with conspiracies to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana and to launder money were sentenced on May 9, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Somwang Wong Khanya, age 32, Inpaeng Phady, age 30, and Keophothone Rounoubon, age 23, were indicted on December 2, 2014.  Khanya was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Phady and Rounoubon were charged with Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance.

Khanya pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering on February 9, 2016, and was sentenced to 70 months in custody, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Phady pled guilty to the marijuana distribution conspiracy on February 9, 2016, and was sentenced to 30 months in custody, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.  She was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Rounoubon pled guilty to the marijuana distribution conspiracy on February 5, 2016, and was sentenced to 23 months in custody, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

The defendants had a source of marijuana in California, and traveled there from Worthington on many occasions to purchase and bring back marijuana for distribution in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, area and elsewhere.  They also used other individuals to make the trips and to distribute marijuana.  Law enforcement believes at least 500 pounds of marijuana was sold.

Khanya used various methods to launder the proceeds of the marijuana sales, including purchasing many expensive items, such as 63 designer handbags, purses, and wallets from Louis Vuitton, Coach, Chanel, Gucci, and Burberry having an approximate retail value of $62,000; purchasing gold jewelry with an approximate retail value of $54,000; running cash through casinos; structuring cash deposits into bank accounts to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports; and purchasing a 2009 Lexus IS250 and financing, titling, registering, and insuring it in other persons’ names.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Haak prosecuted the case.

The defendants were immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated May 18, 2016