21 Defendants Convicted During Three-Year Investigation Into Drug Trafficking and Criminal Activities Led by Inmates Inside State Prison Walls Using Contraband Cell Phones
OKLAHOMA CITY – Eight people have been charged in a conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana by transporting it from Colorado Springs to Oklahoma, announced First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. TOMMY SAVANH NAMMIXAY, 40, CHRISTOPHER BLAND BYRNE, 40, ANDREW CORY EAVES, SR., 47, TERRY DON BROWNE, 34, LAWRENCE JOSEPH HARDEN, 33, RALPH ARTHUR GOLDEN, 59, Johnnie Wilmire Vinavong, 41, and ILIANA MACIAS, 29, are named in a criminal complaint filed on May 13, 2019.
According to an affidavit in support of the complaint, investigation began in September 2016, when the Norman Police Department conducted controlled purchases of marijuana and cocaine and discovered a potential distribution network linked to Nammixay. The affidavit indicates that a long-term Drug Enforcement Administration investigation revealed Nammixay was the leader of a drug-trafficking organization that moved large amounts of high-grade marijuana from Colorado Springs to Oklahoma City, where it was re-distributed throughout Oklahoma. In late 2017, using court-approved GPS location monitoring and physical surveillance, DEA investigators are alleged to have learned that Nammixay made numerous trips to and from Colorado Springs in which he drove a "lead" vehicle and a conspirator drove a "load" vehicle with large quantities of marijuana. When Nammixay and his colleagues arrived in Oklahoma City, they allegedly stored the marijuana in various “stash houses” under Nammixay’s control.
According to the affidavit, the conspiracy included at least 49 trips to and from Colorado Springs. It is alleged that law enforcement seized a total of 278.35 pounds of marijuana in the course of six traffic stops during the investigation.
Nammixay was arrested in the early morning hours of May 20, 2019. Today, after an evidentiary hearing that showed the presence of more than 40 weapons, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard M. Jones determined that Nammixay is a risk of flight as well as a danger to community and ordered him detained pending further proceedings.
If found guilty of conspiring to possess 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, each defendant faces a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000,000. This crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Each defendant would also be required to serve a term of supervised release of at least four years and up to life.
This case is a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Norman Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Snyder and David Petermann are prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that this charge is merely an allegation and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Reference is made to public filings for more information.