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  1. GDxCAT
    2 from state charged in opium case - woodbury, mn

    Two Woodbury residents and three others were charged Monday in Atlanta
    with trafficking $1.3 million worth of opium soaked into fabric and
    flown from Laos.

    Or and Jack Vue of Woodbury are each charged in U.S. District Court for
    the Northern District of Georgia with three counts of importing a
    controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and
    conspiracy to traffic illegal drugs, according to a statement from the
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

    Customs and border protection officials seized 30 pounds of the drug on
    Jan. 19. It was packed in the personal luggage of Susan Thempmang
    Sisakda and Vongmath Thongliane, who arrived at Hartsfield
    International Airport in Atlanta on a Korean Airlines flight that
    originated in Laos, according to authorities.

    Khamphan Sisakda was waiting at the Atlanta airport for his wife and Thongliane to drive them to Minnesota when he was arrested.

    On Jan. 21, agents had Susan Sisakda deliver the opium to Or Vue at a
    Woodbury home owned by Jack Vue, the statement said. Authorities
    searched the house and arrested Or Vue.

    It was not clear Tuesday night how the Vues might be related.

    Sisakda, her husband, Khamphan Sisakda, and Thongliane were each charged with the same crimes as the Vues.

    Jack Vue was in Laos at the time and was scheduled to fly into the Twin
    Cities the next day, Immigration and Customs said. He was arrested
    Saturday when he arrived in Minneapolis.

    The opium is worth $100 per gram, said Tim Counts, spokesman for Immigration and Customs.

    "The fabric is drenched in it, dried out, and then once it's in [the
    fabric], it's transported to wherever it's going, and then soaked in
    some kind of liquid or water and wrung out ... and the liquid
    evaporates and it reverts to solid form," he said.

    Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report.

    Chao Xiong is at cxiong@startribune.com.




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