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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
September 19, 2006

Federal Investigation Dismantles
Major Drug Organizations in Pacific Northwest
Investigations Lead to Dozens of Arrests,
Multiple Pounds of BC Bud Marijuana, Cocaine and MDMA

A two year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies has resulted in more than 46 arrests and the seizure of multiple pound quantities of BC Bud marijuana, cocaine, and MDMA (street name ecstacy). In November 2005, the initial investigation dubbed “Operation Frogger,” culminated with the dismantling of a drug dealing organization that smuggled marijuana from Canada and distributed the drug throughout the western United States. In turn, the group allegedly purchased multi-kilograms of cocaine and distributed it throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In this case, 22 individuals were arrested, 23 kilograms cocaine and 1500 pounds of marijuana was seized along with $1.3 million dollars in cash and assets.

The “Frogger” investigation is linked to two other investigations. In a case dubbed “This Buds Pho You,” another twenty-two people were arrested in the Seattle area on September 6, 2006. In connection with those arrests, agents seized an indoor marijuana grow with more than 450 plants, 1100 tablets of MDMA, some cocaine and more than $3.2 million dollars in cash and assets. Seventeen of the suspects face federal charges in Seattle for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and MDMA. According to the charging documents, the conspirators were heard on a court authorized wiretap brokering deals involving the sale of marijuana and MDMA. One of the defendants, Hung Anh Le, was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could result in an enhanced sentence. This investigation was dubbed "This Buds Pho You" because targets of this investigation would refer to marijuana as "Pho," a type of Vietnamese soup.

The other investigation that is linked to “Frogger” and “This Buds Pho You” was a Tacoma investigation which also culminated on September 6, 2006. An additional 3 individuals were arrested and 45,000 tablets of MDMA, one (1) kilogram of cocaine, and an indoor marijuana grow operation with 40 plants were seized. A criminal complaint filed in Tacoma shows that Anousack Sayasack and Phophinh Sayasack are charged in a six count indictment with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, Possession of MDMA with Intent to Distribute, Maintaining a Drug-Involved Residence and various firearms violations.

DEA Special Agent in Charge, Rodney Benson, said, "In this region, DEA routinely sees the commingling of BC bud marijuana, cocaine, Ecstacy and other illicit drug shipments by drug traffickers and this activity shows that the greed of these narcotics smugglers has no limits. As was the case in these investigations, DEA is not only committed to arresting all members of these drug trafficking groups but is also aggressively targeting and seizing the assets illegally accumulated by these organizations. This two-pronged approach ensures that their illicit business is totally destroyed."

An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The cases were investigated by DEA and the Seattle Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Washington State Patrol, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department, Puyallup Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department, Auburn Police Department, Department of Corrections, and the King Country Sheriff’s Office.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Whalley, Lisca Borichewski and Doug Hill.

For additional information please contact Jeffrey Eig, Public Information Officer for DEA at (206) 553-1411, or Emily Langlie, Public Information Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206) 553-4110. For an opportunity to photograph some of the Ecstacy seized and or interview DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson about the investigation, call DEA Special Agent Jeffrey Eig at 206-553-1411.

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