FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2004
JURY CONVICTS TWO INVOLVED IN METHAMPHETAMINE TRAFFICKING
JAN 18 -- (HOUSTON, TX) United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced today the return of a jury's verdict convicting Hyun Uu Kim, 33, of Katy Texas, and Sung Cho Hester, 20, of Houston, Texas, of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute approximately a half pound of Methamphetamine. Kim was also convicted of two federal firearms offenses - possessing a firearm during a narcotics transaction and possessing a firearm while under indictment for an unrelated felony. The jury's verdict was returned at 5:00 p.m. yesterday, November 17, 2004.
Quach is presently serving a prison term of 108 months in federal prison for his drug offense conviction and has been ordered to serve a 5-year term of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
The successful prosecution of Kim and Hester is the result of a two-months Drug Enforcement Administration investigation culminating in the arrest of Kim, Hester and a third defendant, Paul Quach, 21, of Houston, Texas, on December 4, 2003. Prior to the beginning of this trial, Quach plead guilty to and has been convicted of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
United States District Judge Vanessa Gilmore presided over the three-day trial during which the jury heard testimony from DEA agents regarding the investigation which lead to the arrest of Kim, Hester and Quach.
Agents testified that, acting on information obtained during the course of their investigation, DEA set up surveillance at Quach's residence on the 1900 block of Upland in Houston, followed him to Hester's residence at an apartment complex located on the 800 block of Threadneedle, in Houston, where Hester joined him. Together they drove to a shopping center located on the 12800 block of Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas. At the shopping center, agents watched Hester approached a vehicle driven by Hyun Uu Kim. Kim and Hester met at the rear of Kim's vehicle. Kim was observed opening his trunk and thereafter, Hester was seen returning to Quach's car carrying a white box. Based upon the then ongoing investigation, agents had reason to believe the box contained methamphetamine. After the delivery, DEA agents followed both vehicles as they left the scene, and eventually each vehicle was stopped by investigating agents.
A search of the vehicle occupied by Quach and Hester resulted in DEA agents recovering one and a half pounds of methamphetamine - valued at approximately $7500 - contained in the white box delivered by Kim. During trial, Hester's attorney attempted to convince the jury his client did not know the contents of the box he had received. However, testimony regarding the actual delivery combined with other testimony regarding the planned pick up of the drugs developed during the investigation indicated Quach would be accompanied by a second person to accept delivery of the drugs from Kim. Hester proved to be that second person.
From Kim's vehicle, agents recovered two handguns and an AK-47 found in his trunk. At the time of his arrest for the federal offenses, Kim was serving a term of deferred adjudication under a State of Texas indictment for robbery.
Judge Gilmore has set sentencing for February 14, 2005. Kim and Hester each face no less than10 years and up to life imprisonment, and a $4 million fine as punishment for each of the two drug trafficking convictions. Kim faces an additional term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine for the possession of a firearm while under indictment conviction and five more years for the possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense, which must be served consecutive - after the completion - of any other sentence.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jim McAlister and Shelley Hicks.