Guilty Plea In Salt Lake City Ecstasy Investigation
FEB 13 -- (Salt Lake City, UT) – Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Brett L. Tolman, U.S. Attorney (USA) for Utah, announced that an individual who law enforcement authorities believe conspired with others to distribute more than 100,000 MDMA (ecstasy) pills in the Salt Lake City area over the past six years pleaded guilty in federal court today to one count of conspiracy to distribute MDMA.
Long Bao Ngo, age 32, of Murray, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells, admitting that between August 8, 2001, and September 24, 2006, he conspired with others to distribute MDMA. During that period, he said he supplied dealers with MDMA which he knew they intended to sell. The potential maximum penalty for the conviction is 20 years in federal prison. As a part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors and Ngo agreed to a sentence of 156 months (13 years). U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart will decide whether to impose that sentence at an April 24, 2008, hearing.
Ngo was charged in a one-count indictment returned in June 2007 with conspiracy to distribute MDMA. The federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment in November 2007 adding a second count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. According to the plea agreement, the firearms count will be dismissed at sentencing. Ngo, who has a significant history of violence, drug dealing and ongoing gang affiliation, is in custody.
The federal charges against Ngo and five other individuals followed an eight-month investigation by the DEA and several local police agencies, including the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force, the Sandy City Police and Taylorsville Police Department. The MDMA was imported into Utah from California. The pills were purchased at a cost of $2 to $4 per pill and sold to local redistributors for $7 to $8. The pills ultimately were allegedly marketed to users for $15 to $20 per pill. Authorities say approximately 6,000 MDMA pills were taken off the street during the investigation
According to SAC Sweetin, “DEA will continue to go after drug traffickers who bring these drugs into our communities. The sentence Ngo faces is some small recourse for the families of the young people whose lives Ngo ruined by making this so called ‘party’ drug available to teens and young adults in the Salt Lake City area.”
“Mr. Ngo faces a significant federal prison sentence for his role in distributing drugs in our communities, said USA Tolman. “I believe the primary targets of these alleged drug dealers were teen-agers and young adults in Utah who may not understand the potentially serious health consequences of its use. While teen-agers or young adults may view it as a harmless ‘party drug,’ health care professionals and law enforcement agencies understand that ecstasy is a serious threat to anyone who uses it.
According to the DEA, many ecstasy tablets contain not only MDMA but also a number of other drugs or drug combinations that can be harmful as well. Adulterants found in MDMA tablets purchased on the street include methamphetamine, caffeine, an over-the-counter cough suppressant, the diet drug ephedrine, and cocaine.
Other defendants in related cases include:
1. Adam Dion Corder, age 25, of Salt Lake City and Andrew Valadez, aka Andres Montemayor, age 23, of Henderson, Nevada, were charged in a two-count indictment, returned May 2, 2007, with conspiracy to distribute MDMA. Corder also was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Both pleaded guilty in July 2007 to conspiracy to distribute MDMA. Sentencing in both cases is pending.
2. Lucas Osden Fullmer, age 22, of Taylorsville, was indicted Feb. 4, 2007, on two counts of distribution of MDMA. He pleaded guilty in June 2007 to one count of distribution of MDMA, admitting that between November 30, 2006, and December 27, 2006, he sold 1,016 tablets to an undercover police officer. He was sentenced in October 2007 to 33 months in federal prison.
3. Christopher Mello, age 24, of West Valley City, was indicted Jan. 31, 2007, on one count of possession of MDMA with intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty in June 2007. Sentencing is scheduled for March 25, 2008, in Judge David Sam’s courtroom.
4. Mack Henry Evans, age 24, of Salt Lake City, was indicted in February on seven counts of distribution of MDMA. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of distribution of MDMA. As a part of his plea agreement, he admitted that between Oct. 18, 2006, and Jan. 29, 2007, he sold 2,619 tablets of MDMA to undercover police officers. He was sentenced in July 2007 to 46 months in federal prison.