Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

February 11, 2014

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Modesto Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Structure Cash Proceeds Of Interstate Oxycodone And Hydrocodone Trafficking

FRESNO, Calif. - Sdey Chim, 37, of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to structure cash transactions.

According to court documents, Chim and co-conspirators obtained prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone from a doctor in Visalia. After obtaining the prescriptions, co-conspirators filed the prescriptions at pharmacies in Fresno and Modesto, California, and then arranged for the pills to be shipped to Washington for sale on the black market. Chim communicated with co-defendant David Ruem to have the cash proceeds of the pill sales deposited into certain bank accounts held by co-conspirators.

The cash deposits and subsequent cash withdrawals were made in amounts of $10,000 or less to attempt to prevent Currency Transaction Reports from being filed by the banks on those cash transactions. Currency Transactions Reports are reports prepared by financial institutions for any transactions involving more than $10,000 in cash. These reports are filed with the Department of Treasury and are made available to law enforcement. In total, more than $1.5 million in cash was deposited into co-conspirators’ bank accounts in a structured manner.

This case is being brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.

This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multijurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case.

Chim is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Anthony W. Ishii on April 21, 2014. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to structure. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
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