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News Release
November 18, 2005
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Operation Sweet Tooth Nets Two Local Arrests and Seizure of Marijuana and US Currency
2 individuals charged with Conspiracy with Intent to Distribute Ecstasy and Marijuana

NOV 18--SACRAMENTO – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Sacramento District Office and the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, announced today the arrest of two Sacramento area residents as part of a nationwide takedown of a large scale marijuana and ecstasy trafficking ring. The investigation, dubbed Operation Sweet Tooth, was more than a two-year DEA led investigation into several international ecstasy and marijuana trafficking organizations with ties to Canada and Vietnam.

Gordon Taylor, Agent in Charge of the DEA Sacramento Office, said, “This operation delivered a crushing blow to a Sacramento based cell responsible for transporting marijuana and thousands of ecstasy pills from Sacramento to Los Angeles.” Taylor added, “We hope this operation will impact the availability of ecstasy and prevent this potentially fatal drug from reaching our teenagers and young adults.”

The DEA Sacramento District Office began their investigation into the Sacramento distribution cell in October 2004. During the investigation, the DEA learned that Sacramento resident and ring leader Tho LE was allegedly obtaining thousands of pills of 3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy, from a source in Northern California and transporting them to the Los Angeles area for distribution. The investigation also suggests that LE would then arrange for high-grade Canadian grown marijuana to be transported from Los Angeles to the Sacramento area for distribution. During the course of this investigation, the DEA Sacramento Office seized 50 pounds of “BC Bud” marijuana and over $90,000 U.S. Currency from this Sacramento based cell. The street value of the seized marijuana is approximately $200,000.

On November 14, 2005, federal arrest warrants were issued in the Eastern District of California for the following individuals for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Ecstasy and Marijuana and for Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility:

Tho LE, 31, Sacramento
Tri Huu BUI, 22, Sacramento
Tung Thanh HUYNH, 27, Sacramento
Thang Quoc BUI, 30, Sacramento
Michelle Chau Ngoc LE, 30, Los Angeles
Nam Gia PHAMTRAN, 24, Los Angeles

Earlier this morning, DEA agents arrested Tri Huu BUI and Tung Thanh HUYNH without incident at their residences in Sacramento. They had their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon in Sacramento and are currently being held at the Sacramento County Jail.

Tho LE, Thang Quoc BUI, Michelle Chau Ngoc LE and Nam Gia PHAMTRAN have outstanding federal arrest warrants and should immediately turn themselves into law enforcement authorities. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these four individuals is requested to contact the DEA Sacramento Office at 916-480-7100.

Each count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy and marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section 846 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for use of a communication facility in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section 843(b) is 5 years in prison. The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The DEA Sacramento Office was assisted during this investigation by the Sacramento Police Department.

All press inquiries can be directed to ASAC Gordon Taylor at (916) 480-7200 or PIO Casey McEnry at (415) 436-7994.
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