An undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation that busted a large-scale, Southern California-based narcotics distribution network planning a 2011, five-kilo cocaine sale ended this week with lengthy prison sentences for two participants.
U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess handed Thi Oanh Ta a term of 108 months in prison, a $25,000 fine and supervised probation for five years upon her release.
Feess sentenced Juan Cebreros Iribe to 90 months in prison plus supervised probation for five years.
With the aid of local police departments including in Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, the DEA investigation used extensive wiretaps, physical surveillance, search warrants and a paid confidential law enforcement informant hiding deep in the underworld to unravel the conspiracy.
According to a DEA report, the network operated in Orange and Los Angeles counties, Seattle and Canada.
So far, seven of 11 current defendants in the case have won a combined total of 531 months of incarceration.
Others sentenced include Dung Tien Doan, 72 months; Khoa Dang Pham, 42 months; Linda Pham, 48 months; Augusto Asencio Recinos, 120 months; and Jorge Noel Cardenas Escobar, 51 months.
Dispositions haven't been officially determined for Hai Van Pham, Natividad Escobar Cardenas and Alfredo Gonzalo Alcocer.
So much of the case has been placed under seal from public view that it's not clear what happened to a 12th indicted defendant, Felicano Sotelo.
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.