FEDERAL INDICTMENT ACCUSES 20 LINKED TO ASIAN GANGS WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING AND SHAM MARRIAGE CONSPIRACY
A law-enforcement task force this morning arrested 18 defendants named in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges narcotics trafficking and fake marriages to obtain “green cards” for foreign nationals.
The 19-count indictment charges that some of the defendants engaged in the distribution of ecstasy, that some cultivated marijuana, and that some were involved in a scheme in which foreign nationals paid tens of thousands of dollars to marry American women so they could obtain permanent resident status.
The investigation, called Operation Paint It Black, targeted members and associates of a San Gabriel Valley-based street gang called the Red Door. This morning’s takedown is the result of an indictment that charges 20 defendants and was returned on August 24 by a federal grand jury. Eighteen of the 20 defendants were arrested this morning, and authorities continue to search for two of the defendants.
During the course of the two-year investigation, authorities seized seven firearms, more than 12,500 ecstasy pills, 2,230 marijuana plants and a Lamborghini.
“The DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to getting the criminal organizations distributing ecstasy and dangerous drugs out of our communities,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “Ecstasy is a serious threat to our communities, particularly to our teens and youth, who are often unaware of the significant harm it can cause. Today’s arrests have dealt a severe blow to a violent criminal organization responsible for distributing large amounts of ecstasy throughout the Los Angeles area.”
In addition to the narcotics trafficking allegations, the indictment outlines a scheme in which foreign nationals paid tens of thousands of dollars to enter into sham marriages. The indictment discusses three specific sham marriages in which the foreign nationals obtained permanent resident status.
Those named in the indictment are:
Kyle Carriere, 23, of Rowland Heights, who is charged with distributing ecstasy, as well as illegally selling firearms, including a .357 magnum revolver and two 9mm semiautomatic handguns;
Henry Chen, 21, of Rowland Heights, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy;
Tony Tuan Dam, 22, of Huntington Beach, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy;
Katrina Yu, 21, of Rowland Heights, who allegedly trafficked in more than 10,000 ecstasy pills;
Andy Lai, 28, of El Monte, who is charged with trafficking 5,000 ecstasy pills in conjunction with Yu;
Richie Le, 26, who resides in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, who assisted Carriere in conducting ecstasy transactions;
Lawrence Liu, 22, of Diamond Bar, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy, participated in the cultivation of marijuana and assisted setting up sham marriages;
Nathan Nwobi, 36, of Culver City, who allegedly operated marijuana “grow houses” in Santa Clarita and Studio City (Nwobi is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities);
Brian Ly, 22, of Alhambra, who allegedly helped Nwobi with the marijuana-growing operation;
Edward Su, 22, of San Gabriel, who allegedly assistant Nwobi with the marijuana-growing operation;
Michael Chen, 22, of Diamond Bar, who allegedly cultivated marijuana in a house in Riverside in conjunction with Liu;
Jun Paz, 25, of West Covina, who allegedly assisted Carriere;
Steven Settino Siino, 22, of San Dimas, who allegedly sold ecstasy;
Allen Chen, 26, of Arcadia, who allegedly orchestrated the marriage fraud component of the case;
Sylvia Ho, 22, of Rowland Heights, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage in exchange for $15,000;
Seong Chun Tan, 32, of Alhambra, a Malaysian national who allegedly paid to marry Ho;
Jane Kim, 23, of Yorba Linda, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage;
Chun Chih Hu, 29, who resides in unincorporated Los Angeles County near Irwindale, a Taiwanese national who allegedly paid to marry Jane Kim;
Angela Kim, 22, who resides in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage; and
Feng Ye, 38, of Flushing, New York, a Chinese national who allegedly paid to marry Angela Kim (Ye is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities).
Those defendants arrested today are expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court.
“This investigation captured an Asian street gang member that was trafficking in firearms and selling ecstasy in our communities,” said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division. “ATF will continue to utilize all investigative techniques to keep our communities safe from gang members that use or possess illegal firearms to further their criminal enterprises.”
The charges in the indictment carry statutory maximum penalties ranging from 20 years in federal prison for some of the drug trafficking charges to five years in federal prison for those charged in the marriage fraud conspiracy.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.