Defendants With Ties To China Indicted For Conspiracy To Distribute Ecstasy
DEC 11 --(San Diego, CA) - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Ralph W. Partridge and United States Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced the unsealing yesterday of a six count indictment charging 14 defendants with conspiracy to distribute thousands of tablets of 3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as “Ecstasy,” a mind-altering illegal drug. A federal grand jury in the Southern District of California returned a true bill indictment on July 10, 2008, which was then sealed until yesterday’s arrests. Several of the defendants were arrested in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, Arizona they are; Henry Huynh, Tony Nguyen, Yi Cheong Ho, Michael Hoai, Tran, Duy The Nguyen, Yang Jiang, Charles David Nguyen, Vi Kien Tang, Down George Yang, David Van Pham, Phinath Khvann, Melissa Sue Morand, Harlan Jarard Edison, and Edward H. Chien. In addition to the conspiracy charge in Count 1, defendants Phinath Khvann and Harlan Jarard Edison, are charged with separate offenses of distribution of ecstasy in connection with controlled purchases by cooperating individuals.
The indictment alleges that in May 2006 the DEA began investigating the role of Asian individuals in the distribution of large quantities of ecstasy. DEA conducted electronic surveillance which confirmed that several defendants had made trips to China purportedly to arrange the shipment of the illegal drugs to locations in Southern California. The overt acts listed in Count 1 of the indictment chronicle several round trips from Los Angeles International Airport to Guangzhou, China (formerly known as Canton).
The indictment further alleges that some of the defendants attempted to obtain firearms for the apparent purpose of protecting their drug trafficking operations. On September 1, 2007, enforcement personnel seized six handguns from one defendant enroute to Southern California from Phoenix, Arizona.
United States Attorney Hewitt said, “Ecstasy destroys individual lives and corrodes communities. Those who profit from its sale and distribution will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“This successful investigation of these MDMA traffickers is the result of true law enforcement partnerships,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ralph W. Partridge. “The DEA is committed to keeping our communities safe from those who engage in the illegal sale and distribution of controlled substances. DEA and all our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those individuals intent on trafficking drugs are identified, located and put out of business.”
Several defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today in federal court in San Diego before United States Magistrate Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.
DEFENDANTS Criminal Case No. 08cr2288-BTM
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.