July 24, 2007
Contact: SA Susan Wolf
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
Mexican Fugitive and Co-Conspirator Arrested on U.S. Drug, Money Laundering Charges
JUL 24 -- WASHINGTON – The owner of a pharmaceutical wholesale business based in Mexico City and a co-conspirator have been arrested in the United States on drug and money laundering charges, respectively, for allegedly conspiring to aid and abet the manufacturing of methamphetamine, knowing that it would be imported into the United States, the Department of Justice announced today.
“With the arrest of Zhenli Ye Gon, we’ve apprehended not only the man behind the money, but the man behind the meth. He may never have touched the drugs, but he made it all possible, facilitating the massive meth trade by brokering chemicals to kingpins,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “Ye Gon’s arrest demonstrates yet again the tremendous courage and commitment of Mexican law enforcement and the Calderón administration to destroy the meth trade.”
Agents and task force officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested Zhenli Ye Gon in Wheaton , Md. , on July 23, 2007. A criminal complaint charged Ye Gon with conspiracy to aid and abet the manufacture of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, knowing that it would be imported into the United States . Ye Gon is scheduled to be presented before the U.S. Magistrate Court for the District of Columbia for his initial appearance later today. On March 15, 2007, Mexican law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on a residence of Ye Gon’s and discovered more than $205 million in U.S. currency.
Ye Gon owned and operated a pharmaceutical wholesale business based in Mexico City , Mexico . The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges that from December 2005 until March 2007, Ye Gon conspired with methamphetamine manufacturers who imported methamphetamine into the United States by diverting precursor chemicals to those drug manufacturing and trafficking organizations.
Ye Gon’s alleged co-conspirator, Michelle Wong, was arrested in the Las Vegas area. Wong was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
The complaint alleges that from December 2005 until March 2007, Wong conspired with and aided Ye Gon by knowingly laundering large amounts of drug proceeds, including U.S. currency. Wong is scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Nevada later today.
These matters will be prosecuted by attorneys assigned to the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) of the Criminal Division. The investigation in this case was led by the DEA and Mexican law enforcement units. Ye Gon is a fugitive of the Mexican government stemming from charges brought against him in that country.