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Drug trafficker sentenced to more than 20 years in prison

ICE plays major role in thwarting an international drug distribution scheme

PHILADELPHIA - A North Carolina man was sentenced on December 9, 2008 to 262 months in prison based on a conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute ecstasy and methamphetamine. Sann Thach, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina was convicted during an August 2008 trial in federal district court. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents played a significant role in the investigation which started in January of 2007.

This case was part of a major investigation into drug smuggling between the United States and Canada. Asian organized crime elements use Philadelphia as a major transshipment point for ecstasy pills and high-grade marijuana. The drugs are manufactured in Canada, smuggled into the United States to Philadelphia, and then distributed across the eastern seaboard. For the past several years, ICE has been working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime & Racketeering Section, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and various Canadian law enforcement agencies, to crack down on these Asian crime organizations.

In January 2007, ICE special agents learned that a large shipment of ecstasy pills had arrived in Philadelphia from Canada. Thach was a drug dealer from North Carolina who negotiated a deal to buy 20,000 ecstasy pills per month from another drug dealer in Philadelphia. Thach intended to distribute these drugs in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. On January 29, 2007, Thach attempted to take the first shipment of 7,500 ecstasy pills from Philadelphia back to Charlotte. Working in conjunction with the ICE special agents, Philadelphia Police Officers John Kelly and Robert Fredericksdorf stopped Thach's vehicle on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia and seized the 7,500 ecstasy pills and approximately $15,000 in U.S. currency.

Thach received an enhanced sentence in this case because he attempted to obstruct justice by filing false IRS forms against the prosecutors and trial judge. Thach was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, complete five years of supervised release, and pay a $200 special assessment.

The case was investigated by ICE and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Livermore of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The Philadelphia Police Department assisted on this case.