News Release
Date: January 23, 2012
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 415-436-7994

Fresnan Sentenced for Interstate “Medical” Marijuana Shipments

FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims announced today that U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Bounepheng Savongsy, aka Boyne Pheng Savongsy, 51, a resident of Fresno and Murfreesboro, Tenn., to three years and one month, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

According to court documents, Savongsy and his co-defendants — Phousangkhy Phanthadeth, aka Phou, 38, and Manop Souksavath, 39, both of Fresno; Ernson Merisier, 27, of Holbrook, Mass.; and Marquis Allen Meca, 27, and and Ruddys A. Pimentel, 29, both of Roslindale, Mass. — were involved in the interstate shipment and distribution of marijuana grown in agricultural fields in Fresno County. The fields were posted with medicinal marijuana recommendations from medical doctors, but Savongsy, Phanthadeth, and Souksavath conspired to ship and did ship the marijuana to Merisier, Meca, and Pimentel in the Boston area, where the drug was sold for about $3,000 per pound, about three times what it sells for in California. The State of Massachusetts has not legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

According to court documents, on November 4, 2010, Phanthadeth and Souksavath were arrested in Utah following a traffic stop of their vehicle, which contained about 184 pounds of marijuana. Law enforcement officials then supervised the delivery of the marijuana to Merisier, Meca, and Pimentel in Roslindale, Mass., who paid about $66,000 in cash as partial payment for the total price - $570,400 - of the marijuana. Law enforcement officers then executed multiple search warrants in locations in Fresno, Cedar City, Utah, and Roslindale, Mass., resulting in the seizure of approximately 4,620 live marijuana plants, approximately 3,563 pounds of processed marijuana, 11 firearms, a 2006 Dodge Charger, and $113,151 in cash.

Savongsy is the last defendant to be sentenced in this case. Phanthadeth was sentenced to five years in prison, Merisier and Pimentel were sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, and Meca was sentenced to two years in prison.

This case is the product of an investigation by the DEA offices in Fresno, Salt Lake City, and Boston, and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the FBI, California Department of Justice Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol, Boston Police Department, and North Attleboro Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.

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