News Release
Date: February 07, 2012
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 213-621-6827

Operator of Large Scale Ecstasy
Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 22 Years

LOS ANGELES - A Monterey Park, Calif., man who pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking charges and admitted he was responsible for the distribution of hundreds of thousands of Ecstasy pills in the course of only a few months has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.

Jimmy Luong, 30, of Monterey Park, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson. In imposing the 22-year prison term, Judge Wilson noted that the scope of Luong’s Ecstasy distribution operation was “extraordinary” and one of the largest of its kind he had ever seen on the bench.

Luong pleaded guilty last year to two conspiracies – one involving the trafficking of Ecstasy and another involving the manufacturing of methamphetamine – along with a third charge of possessing a custom-made assault rifle in relation to the two narcotics offenses.

“Ecstasy use, particularly by our teens and youth, has continued to increase during the past ten years,” said Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “Today’s sentencing sends a message to those who prey on our communities by manufacturing and distributing these dangerous drugs. DEA and our law enforcement partners will not rest until these criminals are no longer able to prey on our communities.”

Luong was the leader of a drug trafficking organization that in only a few months – March 2010 through July 2010 – distributed more than one million Ecstasy pills in Southern California. Ecstasy is a common street name for a club drug that contains the chemical 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Luong maintained a “stash house” in the City of Industry that served as the base of operations for the narcotics ring and was where authorities discovered a sophisticated methamphetamine lab and weapons. At a second stash location at a storage facility in Arcadia, authorities seized approximately 510,000 MDMA tablets. A third stash location yielded approximately 250,000 MDMA tablets.

“Most significant was the scope of these conspiracies, which included distribution of at least one million Ecstasy pills over a several-month period, along with manufacturing at least 500 grams of methamphetamine from defendant’s massive and chemically dangerous laboratory in the City of Industry,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing brief.

Once he completes his prison term, Luong will be under supervised release for 10 years.

Luong was one of 15 men who were named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the summer of 2010. The other defendants are:

  • Tony Barerra Jr., 38, of West Covina, who is accused of acting as a supplier to Luong’s organization;
  • Toan Hoang, 34, of El Monte, who served as Luong’s second-in-command and has been sentenced to 15 years in prison;
  • Lok Lim, 35, of El Monte, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for delivering the 510,000 MDMA tablets seized in Arcadia;
  • Christopher Ammen, 23, of El Monte, who helped distribute wholesale quantities of MDMA for the Luong organization and is currently serving a five-year prison term;
  • David Luu, 23, of Monterey Park, who is serving a five-year prison term for helping distribute wholesale quantities of MDMA for the Luong organization and collected drug sale proceeds for delivery back to Luong;
  • Joseph Yao, 28, of Temple City, who is pending sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges and admitting that he rented the Arcadia storage facility where 510,000 MDMA tablets were seized;
  • John Underwood, 44, of La Mirada, an alleged drug courier who allegedly helped supply Luong’s organization with MDMA and, according to the indictment, possessed approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine and $417,000 in cash when he was arrested;
  • Jesse Roman, 25, of Los Angeles, who pleaded guilty to participating in the Ecstasy conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison;
  • Michael Duong, 29, of Rosemead, who pleaded guilty to a drug-related firearms offense and was sentenced to five years in prison;
  • David Kong, 23, of Los Angeles, who is serving a four-year sentence after admitting to participating in the Ecstasy conspiracy;
  • Sam Ha, 32, of El Monte, who pleaded guilty to federal narcotics offenses and was sentenced to six years in prison;
  • Duy Nguyen, 24, of Fountain Valley, who pleaded guilty to participating in the Ecstasy conspiracy and was sentenced to two years in prison;
  • Long Nguyen, 23, of Santa Ana, who was sentenced to probation after admitting guilt in the Ecstasy conspiracy; and
  • Tuan Vu, 25, of Alhambra, who pleaded guilty in the Ecstasy conspiracy and was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.

The investigation into the Luong drug trafficking organization was conducted by the DEA and the Beverly Hills Police Department, with significant assistance from IRS - Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT).