Ninth Defendant Sentenced in Ecstasy Distribution Ring
AUG 27 – (Minneapolis) The ninth and final defendant in a ring focused on distributing the semi-synthetic psychedelic drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, was sentenced on August 25 in federal court in Minneapolis. United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim sentenced Bounpama Vilailath, age 25, of Golden Valley, to 40 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and cocaine. Vilailath was indicted, along with eight co-defendants, on November 13, 2008. All nine defendants have pled guilty to various drug-trafficking charges.
In his plea agreement, Vilailath admitted that from August of 2007 through November 12, 2008, he conspired with others to distribute ecstasy and cocaine. During the period of the conspiracy, he admitted selling more than 100,000 ecstasy pills (25,000 grams) and five kilograms of cocaine to other members of the conspiracy.
Following today’s sentencing, Dan Moren, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (“DEA”) Minneapolis office, said, “Ecstasy is of special concern because it is specifically marketed by drug traffickers to our adolescents and young adults disguised to look like candy. The jointly led and multi-phase investigation exposed and eliminated high ranking members of a drug trafficking organization linked to a known street gang attempting to introduce large quantities of ecstasy into the Twin Cities area. DEA and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the youth of Minnesota from the devastating effects of drugs and violence.”
Co-defendant Tony Var, age 25, of Burnsville, was sentenced on August 3, 2010, to 54 months on one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Tony Var admitted selling more than 70,000 ecstasy pills (17,500 grams) and 3.5 kilograms of cocaine. In addition, three hand guns were found in Var’s home at the time of his arrest. Tony’s brother, Tino Sean Var, age 22, of St. Paul, was sentenced on August 20, 2009, to 46 months on one count of distribution of ecstasy. In his plea agreement, Tino Var admitted distributing 58.4 grams of ecstasy (200 tablets) to a police informant on August 17, 2007, as well as assisting in the distribution of an additional 367.6 grams of ecstasy in September of 2007.
Another Var brother, Vanthan Var, age 30, of Burnsville, was sentenced on July 20, 2009, to 70 months on one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Vanthan Var admitted selling 1,100 ecstasy pills (275 grams) and 500 grams of cocaine.
On July 22, 2009, Rafaello Matthias De Roxas, age 24, of Cottage Grove, was sentenced to36 months on one count of possession with intent to distribute ecstasy. In his plea agreement, De Roxas admitted possessing with intent to distribute 319.8 grams of ecstasy on August 14, 2008. De Roxas also admitted that during the course of the conspiracy he possessed and distributed 950 grams of ecstasy.
On July 20, 2009, Chanthon Poeun, age 28, address unknown, and Noel Yat, age 29, of Shakopee, were sentenced on one count of possession with intent to distribute ecstasy. Poeun received a 30-month sentence, while Yat received a 15-month sentence. In his plea agreement, Poeun admitted possessing with intent to distribute 158.2 grams of ecstasy on July 30, 2008. In his plea agreement, Yat admitted possessing with intent to distribute 32.4 grams of ecstasy. Moreover, he admitted that during the course of the conspiracy, he distributed 125 additional grams of ecstasy.
Joseph Wayne Vadnais, age 28, of St. Paul, was sentenced on July 17, 2009, to 42 months in prison on one count of conspiracy; and Sophat Penh, age 30, of Burnsville, was sentenced on June 29, 2009, to 60 months on one count of conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Vadnais admitted distributing three kilograms of cocaine. In his plea agreement, Penh admitted distributing between 500 and 2,000 grams of cocaine between August of 2007 and November 12, 2008.
This case was the result of an investigation by the DEA and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.