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Contraband
10/09/2008

Ringleader of international drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to 40 years in prison

PHILADELPHIA - Lan Dang, 53, of Toronto, Canada, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Laurie Magid. In December 2006, Dang, the ringleader of an international drug trafficking organization, was convicted of conspiracy to import 138,000 ecstasy pills into the United States, importing ecstasy pills, and money laundering conspiracy. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Curtis J. Joyner ordered Dang to forfeit the proceeds of his drug trafficking offenses in the amount of $190,000, pay a $1,500 fine, a $300 special assessment, and spend three years on supervised release after serving his prison sentence.

Dang was the head of an international Asian drug trafficking organization which smuggled large amounts of illegal drugs into the United States. The drugs were manufactured in Canada and were distributed to customers across the Eastern seaboard, stretching from Boston to Atlanta. Over a two month period, between August 29, 2006 and October 20, 2006, Dang sold approximately 138,000 ecstasy pills to two Philadelphia-based drug dealers, co-defendants Minh La and Roberck Suon. Dang then coordinated a sophisticated scheme to launder the proceeds of those drugs sales back to Canada.

On October 20, 2006, the Pennsylvania State Police discovered 45,000 of these ecstasy pills during a traffic stop of a vehicle. Co-defendants Vutha Kao and Jeremy Warren were using that vehicle to transport the pills from Philadelphia to Atlanta. In the car, the state troopers also found a sawed-off carbine rifle used by Kao and Warren to protect the shipment of drugs. Kao and Warren have each been sentenced to 30 years in prison for their roles in these offenses. "The collaborative law enforcement effort in this case has ensured that another foreign drug organization is put out of business and it will not be able to peddle its poison across our border," said Magid. "Let us put similar organizations on notice. If your enterprise is dealing drugs on American soil and in our district, be prepared to invest a substantial period of your life behind bars."

"This investigation and the sentence handed down, exemplifies that ICE has and will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that pose direct threats to our communities," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Philadelphia. "Working in concert with our law enforcement partners both domestically and internationally, a major international narcotics smuggling organization has been dismantled."

For the past several years, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime & Racketeering Section, have been working closely with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and various Canadian law enforcement agencies, to crack down on these Asian organized crime groups. Lan Dang was one of the highest ranking members of these groups to be prosecuted, to date, in the United States.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Livermore of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The case was investigated by special agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) . The investigation also received assistance from: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Delaware County Prison, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police Department, and the Toronto Metropolitan Police Department.