A Little Saigon drug dealer nabbed in an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation of Ecstasy pills sales admitted guilt this month inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
Thanh Van Tran initially claimed innocence, but now acknowledges that in March he unwittingly tried to sell five kilograms of Ecstasy in Costa Mesa to a person he assumed was another drug dealer.
But the buyer actually worked as a confidential, law enforcement informant.
Telephone intercepts also surreptitiously recorded Tran bragging about a planned 18-kilogram Ecstasy shipment from Northern California, according to a DEA report.
The fact that Tran did not use any weapons or violence while dealing drugs in Orange and Los Angeles counties, and admitted guilt prior to a trial will aid him at his future sentencing hearing.
According to federal law, Tran--who was born in 1972--faces a maximum prison trip of 20 years and a maximum fine of $1 million plus potential lifetime supervision by government agents.
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter scheduled a Dec. 16 sentencing.
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Khuong Tu, Tran's alleged co-conspirator who was born in 1992, has not admitted any guilt and faces a Nov. 6 trial.