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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Mississauga woman was ringleader of ecstasy trafficking gang

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – A woman from Mississauga, Ontario, who was the ringleader of an Asian organized group pumping millions of ecstasy pill into the U.S. has pleaded guilty and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years.

    Phuong Thi Tran, 39, of Mississauga, pleaded guilty on Wednesday for her role in two drug trafficking conspiracies, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.

    “According to court documents, Tran was the ringleader of an international drug trafficking organization that smuggled millions of ecstasy pills and other drugs from Canada into the United States from 2002 until Tran’s arrest in April 2008,” said the department of justice.

    “The drugs were manufactured in Canada by various Asian organized crime groups and were distributed to drug dealers across the United States. According to court documents, Tran and her associates often smuggled 100,000 ecstasy pills per week into the United States,” the DOJ said.

    According to court papers, Tran’s role in this drug smuggling conspiracy was discovered during the course of an investigation by ICE special agents in Detroit after they had seized several drug shipments that Tran had arranged to smuggle into the United States.

    In October 2006, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan indicted Tran for conspiring to distribute ecstasy pills.

    At the same time, ICE special agents in Philadelphia were conducting a separate but related investigation.

    In September 2007, Tran and her associates sent two couriers to deliver 100,000 ecstasy pills to customers in Philadelphia and Boston.

    “Unbeknownst to Tran and her associates, ICE special agents learned of this shipment and, with the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department, stopped the couriers’ vehicle and seized the drugs,” said the DOJ.

    “In December 2009, Tran was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with conspiracy to distribute ecstasy pills.

    The charges from Detroit were then transferred to Philadelphia,” the statement said.

    At sentencing, Tran faces a maximum punishment of life in prison, a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2, 2010.

    U.S. authorities said billions of dollars of drugs are smuggled each year from Canada into the U.S. by Asian organized crime.

    march 04, 2010


  1. buseman
    Woman at center of Asian drug-trafficking ring gets nearly six-year term

    A woman at the center of an Asian drug-trafficking ring that smuggled millions of ecstasy pills to Philadelphia and other U.S. cities was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison.

    Phuong Thi Tran, 39, could have faced more than 17 years under federal sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors filed a motion for downward departure.

    That motion typically signals that a defendant has cooperated with prosecutors. In Tran's case, the attorneys discussed the details of the motion with the judge privately.

    She did everything she possibly could to assist herself, said prosecutor Robert Livermore, with the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

    I think she has earned for herself a substantial reduction.

    U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker agreed, sentencing Tran to 70 months in prison.

    Tran, who was born in Vietnam and immigrated to Canada, was part of an Asian organized crime syndicate that manufactured ecstasy and other drugs in Canada and smuggled them into the United States.

    Prosecutors said the gangs brought as many as 100,000 pills across the border each week. Tran was involved from 2002 until her arrest in April 2008, prosecutors said.

    She was initially indicted in federal court in Detroit in October 2006, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents seized several drug shipments there.

    A separate ICE investigation learned of a shipment of pills coming to customers in Philadelphia and Boston in September 2007.

    ICE agents and Philadelphia police stopped two of Tran's couriers, carrying 100,000 pills.

    Tran was arrested in Alaska while traveling from Vietnam. She was transferred to Detroit and then Philadelphia, where the cases against her were consolidated.

    She pleaded guilty in February to two drug conspiracy counts.

    Tran had no supporters in the courtroom Tuesday, but she told the judge through a translator that she hoped to be reunited with her family.

    If I'm returned to my family I will change my life around, she said.

    Tran, a Canadian citizen, asked to serve her sentence there.

    By Troy Graham
    Wed, Aug. 25, 2010
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