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United States v. Phung Van Nguyen (2005-2012, San Francisco)

posted Jan 31, 2013, 10:47 AM by The Editor   [ updated Feb 15, 2013, 6:34 PM ]
On June 22, 2005, less than three weeks after the Raich decision, three dispensaries in the Sunset area of San Francisco were shut down by the DEA,  the San Francisco Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies. Twenty one people were indicted on charges ranging from marijuana cultivation to money laundering. Three defendants, Enrique Chan, Richard Wong, and Thy Quang Nguyen, were charged with sales of ecstasy.  Additionally, Wong and Phat Van Vuong were charged with money laundering.  Phung Van Nguyen, director of first Asian-American medical cannabis dispensary was arrested, plus Bartholomew Alexis, Sergio Alvarez, Asa Barnla, Jay Chen, Minho Cho, Faisal Gowani, Chi Duc Hac, Darrick Hom, David Lee, Genaro Lopez, Brian Ly, Roselia Mendoza, Edward Park, Iris Tam, Edwin Toy, and Vince Ming Wan.  The DEA and the media sensationalizde the raid by referring to the arrestees as part of an "Asian Mafia."

On June 15, 2006, the government issued superseding indictments against the existing defendants and thirteen others, bringing the total number of defendants to thirty-three. At that time, the government also split the case into three separate cases, alleging three different conspiracies. Selective prosecution and other motions were unsuccessful in getting any charges or cases dismissed.  Van Nguyen was sentenced to two years in federal prison in September 2010 and surrendered himself in San Francisco on January 5, 2011. He was released on May 16, 2012.