April 14, 2017
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Leader Of Nationwide Marijuana, Money Laundering Ring Pleads Guilty
Between 1,000-3,000 kilos of marijuana distributed: Over $6 Million Laundered
APR 14 - BOSTON - Ratanack Oung, a/k/a Yoshi, 32, of Allentown, Pa., pled guilty in federal court in Boston to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
In September 2016, Oung was indicted on these charges and arrested with co-conspirator Virayuth Chau, 40, of Temecula, Calif., who pled guilty in March 2013. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2017.
Beginning around January 2014, Chau and Oung shipped large quantities of marijuana from California to the East Coast of the United States. When payment for the marijuana was due, Oung collected drug proceeds from co-conspirators and deposited the (typically in an amount under $10,000) into one of many “feeder” accounts in banks on the East Coast, including in Massachusetts. The “feeder” accounts were maintained in the names of businesses or persons associated with Chau in order to disguise the nature and ownership of the drug proceeds flowing into the accounts. Once the money was deposited, it was either withdrawn in cash in California, or transferred into a “target” (an account controlled by Chau) and then withdrawn. In total, the operation distributed between 1,000 to 3,000 kilograms of marijuana and laundered approximately $6,135,035 in drug proceeds.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute marijuana provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million. The charge of money laundering provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England; Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement. The DEA, Los Angeles Division, Riverside (California) Sheriff’s Department and (California) Police Department also assisted with the investigation.