News Release
January 8, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Fresno Ecstasy and Marijuana Distributor Sentenced

JAN 08 --FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Diane Torpey announced today that United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced THONGSY THANNAVONG, 37, of Fresno, to four years and nine months for conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy pills and marijuana and ordered her to pay the government $150,000.

This case is the product of a multi-state Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation conducted by the DEA and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar, who prosecuted the case, the investigation took place in Fresno; Nashville, Tenn.; and Louisville, Ky. The investigation included court-authorized telephonic interceptions, 11 search warrants, and culminated in the federal indictment of 20 defendants in the three cities. Five defendants were indicted in Fresno.

On August 28, 2009, THANNAVONG pleaded guilty to involvement in the drug conspiracy. Over a period of two years THANNAVONG and her couriers made many interstate shipments of ecstasy and marijuana to distributors, including her sister, Sythong Thannavong, aka Sythong Sanders, in Nashville and Louisville. Payment for the drugs would then be shipped back to Fresno via mail parcels sent to THANNAVONG and her associates. THANNAVONG personally received at least $100,000 in drug profits, which she intended to use, in part, to purchase property in Laos. Sythong Thannavong has been indicted in federal court in Tennessee.

At sentencing, Judge O’Neill stated that THANNAVONG was “not just knee-deep” in the distribution conspiracy, but “neck-deep.”

THANNAVONG is subject to deportation to Laos after she serves her prison sentence.