The Canadian Connection: Feds, NYPD Takedown Chinese Drug Gang
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Nineteen suspected Chinese drug gang members were arrested in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and one defendant was arrested in Canada. To date, law enforcement officers have seized more than 50,000 Ecstasy pills worth more than $1 million, over $100,000 in cash, and a number of firearms during the interagency operation.
According to a three-count Indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, since 2005, the now dismantled criminal organization imported more than 250,000 Ecstasy pills — worth more than $5 million on New York City streets — from Canada into the United States for distribution. The organization was supplied by Jung Chao, a/k/a “Tony,” and Chung Huong Nguyen, a/k/a “Lan,” who were based in Canada and occasionally traveled into the United States to oversee the distribution of tens of thousands of Ecstasy pills.
The Indictment charges that Thuong Tri Tang, a/k/a “Tang,” was the criminal organization’s primary distributor of Ecstasy in the United States. Tang had direct dealings with the sources of supply in Canada, receiving tens of thousands of Ecstasy pills at a time for distribution in the United States, it was charged.
According to the Indictment, after the Ecstasy pills were secretly smuggled across the border from Canada into the United States, Tang arranged for the distribution of the organization’s pills to the distribution cells located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Georgia, among other places.
The distribution cells then sold the Ecstasy to retail drug dealers for resale to users in the street, in nightclubs, and in brothels, it's charged. One of these brothels, operated by Guan Jian Ping, a/k/a “Shao Ping,” and a/k/a “Mark,” was located on 153rd Street in Queens, New York. Once the Ecstasy was sold in the United States, members of the organization arranged for the drug proceeds to be collected and laundered back to the organization’s sources of supply in Canada, according to court documents.
The criminal organization stored the pills at self-storage facilities located in New Jersey. On July 14, 2006, law enforcement officers seized approximately 53,000 Ecstasy pills -- worth more than $1 million on New York City streets -- from the organization that were hidden at a storage facility in Edison, New Jersey. The Ecstasy pills were labeled with many different stamps or markings, including, among others: “cherry,” “Versace,” “Louis Vitton,” and “6-point star.”
According to the Indictment, the members of the criminal organization charged today operated in Canada and the United States, and included, among others:
JUNG CHAO, a/k/a “Tony,” and CHUNG MY HUONG NGUYEN, a/k/a “Lan,” who were the sources of supply for the organization and supervised the organization’s operations in Canada, brokered sales of the Organization’s Ecstasy throughout the United States, and coordinated the laundering of the organization’s drug proceeds from the United States back to Canada;
THUONG TRI TANG, a/k/a “Tang,” who was the primary broker of the organization’s sales of Ecstasy in the United States, and the point of contact for local distribution cells located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. TANG also coordinated money-laundering activities for the organization in the United States;
SPARTAK NOKU, MOHAMMAD ALI HUSSAIN, a/k/a “Eli,” and SOMNATH MUKHERJEE a/k/a “Uncle Eli,” a/k/a “Satishkum Patel,” who were transporters of Ecstasy for the organization;
JASON CHANG, a/k/a “Jay,” JAE KANG, DANH THANH VU, a/k/a “Inkman,” a/k/a “Dan,” MINH NGUYEN, a/k/a “Minh,” PHONG DOC NGUYEN, TEETHIAN TRANS, a/k/a “Dung,” LILLY QUANG NGUYEN, a/k/a “Lilly,” THANH KIM, TAIDE TAN, a/k/a “Kyaw T. Paine,” a/k/a “Thai,” VU P. LE, a/k/a “Lee,” XIA WU HU, a/k/a “Tiger,” and GUAN JIAN PING a/k/a “Shao Ping,” a/k/a “Mark,” who were wholesale distributors of Ecstasy for the organization in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland; and
ZHANG OU, ERIC HAN a/k/a “Ah Er,” and FNU LNU, a/k/a “Little Dragon,” who were Ecstasy retailers who received quantities of Ecstasy pills from GUAN JIAN PING, a/k/a “Shao Ping,” a/k/a “Mark,” and distributed the drugs to users in New York City.
This international law enforcement operation, called “Operation Triple Play,” is the culmination of an 18-month investigation involving cooperation between United States authorities, including the DEA, FBI, and the NYPD, working together in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), DEA’s Special Operations Division and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Toronto, Canada.
All the defendants charged in the Indictment face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on the Ecstasy-trafficking charges. One defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment on bulk cash smuggling charges. In addition, various defendants face an additional maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on money laundering charges.
The prosecution is being handled by the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.