With the recent sentencing of a Little Saigon drug dealer, an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into an Orange County-based, international cocaine distribution network has resulted in a total of 651 months in prison for eight defendants.
U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess this month handed Hai Van Pham a prison term of 120 months and a $25,000 fine plus supervised probation for five years whn he returns to freedom.
Whether prosecutors inside the U.S. Department of Justice and Pham's defense lawyer were happy with the punishment is unknown.
Much of the case has been sealed from public view.
(Pham has used numerous aliases including Nguyen Nguyen, Tom Pham, El Chico Pham, Thanh Van Pham and Thanh Ngoc Pham.)
With the aid of local police detectives, DEA agents used extensive wiretaps, physical surveillance, search warrants and a paid, confidential informant to bust the network while it tried to sell five kilos of cocaine in 2011.
According to a law enforcement report, the conspirators sold narcotics in OC, Los Angeles, Seattle and Canada.
Other defendants previously sentenced are Thi Oanh Ta, 108 months; Dung Tien Doan, 72 months; Khoa Dang Pham, 42 months; Linda Pham, 48 months; Augusto Asencio Recinos, 120 months; Juan Cebreros Iribe, 90 months; and Jorge Noel Cardenas Escobar, 51 months.
Those charged in the case but whose dispositions remains unresolved are Alfredo Gonzalo Alcocer, Luis Castaneda and Natividad Escobar Cardenas.