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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Monday, May 2, 2016

Leaders of Violent Drug Trafficking Organization Convicted

Distributed Cocaine, Heroin and Meth over wide region including ‘The Jungle’ near International District in Seattle

          Two men who led a violent drug trafficking organization distributing meth, heroin and cocaine in the Seattle area were convicted April 28th of numerous counts of drug trafficking and one count of money laundering following a seven day jury trial, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  The jury deliberated for seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts against SON V. TRAN, 29, and TUAN A VU, 50, both of Seattle.  The two year investigation lead by the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) and Bellevue Police Department’s Eastside Narcotics Task Force (ENTF), revealed that the organization distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine across a wide swath of the greater Seattle metro area.

          According to court records and testimony at trial, beginning in February 2013 law enforcement authorities used a variety of tools including telephone wire taps and confidential sources to infiltrate and interdict this drug organization.  The investigation determined that the organization distributed approximately 15-20 kilos of cocaine, 10-15 kilos of heroin and 5 kilos of methamphetamine per month. In addition, on multiple occasions members of the drug trafficking organization were arrested with firearms.  During the investigation law enforcement seized drugs and cash including a September 2014 seizure of two kilos of cocaine, one pound of methamphetamine and $14,000 cash from a rental car.  In March 2015, investigators seized more than $32,000 from a hidden compartment in another vehicle.  At the end of the investigation, additional drugs and more than $100,000 in cash was seized from TRAN and VU’s residences. 

          Drug activity associated with the organization occurred over a wide geographic area with many drug sales occurring in the “Jungle” homeless encampment, as well as at homes and near businesses in Seattle, Renton, Shoreline and Kent.  The drug transactions occurred in areas ranging from the parking lot of Viet Wah supermarket near South Jackson Street, the parking lot of Dick’s Drive-In on NE 45th Street, the parking lot of a gas station on Beacon Hill, and at a motel in Tukwila.

          Both Son V. Tran and Tuan A. Vu were convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.  Son V. Tran was also convicted of fifteen separate counts of distribution of controlled substance or possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute offenses.  Tuan A Vu was similarly convicted of eleven separate distribution of controlled substance or possession of controlled substance offenses.  Both men face up to life in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on August 16, 2016.

          These defendants have already pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing in the months ahead:

Cuong T. Le, 57, of Federal Way, Washington

Niem H. Doan, aka “Linh,” 36, of Everett, Washington
Huy V. Tran, 39, of Seattle, Washington
Son T. Nguyen, aka “Nine Fingers” aka “Kim,” 42, of Seattle, Washington
Tam C. Nguyen, aka “Andy,” 39, of Tukwila, Washington
Long V. Trong aka “Black Long,” 42, of Seattle, Washington
Vinh Q. Nguyen, 29, of Seattle, Washington
Giang T. Ngo, aka “Uncle Jack,” 51, of Burien, Washington
Phuong H. Nguyen, aka “LJ,” 30, of Kent, Washington
Kenneth W. Thomas, 55, of SeaTac, Washington
Donald K. Jordan, aka “Looney,” 34, of Seattle, Washington
Donald C. Scholoff, 47, of Edmonds, Washington
Steven J. Connell, 47, of Seattle, Washington

These defendants have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison:

Phuong A. Nguyen, aka “P,” 42, of Kent, Washington – 12 years

Brieanna K. Carlson, 27, of Seattle, Washington – three years

Kimberle S. Alojasin, aka “Nguyen,” 56, of South King County, Washington – four years

Kenneth W. Thomas, 55, of SeaTac, Washington – four years

Yen T. Vu, 55, of Seattle – three years

Tony V. Nguyen, 23, of Seattle – two years

          This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.  This investigation was led by the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) and Bellevue Police Department’s Eastside Narcotics Task Force (ENTF). The SSTF includes task force officers from the Seattle Police Department, and the ENTF is composed of Bellevue Police Department officers, and agents and officers from the Washington State Patrol, US Postal Inspection Service, and the Redmond, Kirkland, and Mercer Island police departments in partnership with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), King County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Kent and Tukwila police departments, and the Seattle Fire Department.

          The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi and Kate Vaughan.

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crimes
Updated May 2, 2016