Date: January 17, 2020
Jacksonville, FL — U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced six individuals in connection with a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and, with respect to four of the defendants, conspiracy to commit money laundering. Bao The Khuong of San Jose, CA was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison, Hai Phi Tran of Jacksonville was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison, Tantai Vo of Jacksonville was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison, Phuc Nguyen Hoang of Jacksonville was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison, Ray Thomas Balintucas of Jacksonville was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison, and Hoi Nguyen of Orlando was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison. Tantai Vo was also sentenced for the unlawful possession of a firearm and was ordered to forfeit his firearm and ammunition. In addition, Khuong was ordered to forfeit at least $1 million in proceeds, and Tran was ordered to forfeit assets of up to $500,000, all of which are traceable to proceeds of the offenses.
All of the defendants had previously pleaded guilty.
According to court documents, beginning as early as April 2014, Khuong served as the source of supply for marijuana from California to Jacksonville. He received approximately $30,000 in marijuana proceeds from Tran, and Tran's associates in Jacksonville, several times a week for at least 18 months. Hoang assisted Khuong and Tran in moving marijuana and marijuana proceeds between California and Jacksonville, and with packaging marijuana in California for shipment to Tran in Jacksonville. Khuong also supplied Vo with marijuana from California, which he sent to Vo in Jacksonville. Nguyen served as a secondary source of supply of marijuana to Vo. Vo sold at least 700 pounds of marijuana to Balintucas during the course of the conspiracy. At the time of Vo's arrest, he was delivering 4 pounds of marijuana to Balintucas, and was carrying a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
"Dismantling this organization is a big win for the people of Northern Florida," stated Special Agent in Charge Mary Hammond of IRS Criminal Investigation's Tampa Field Office. "This case took drugs, guns, and dirty money off our streets and out of the hands of criminals. We take our commitment to fighting narcotics and related financial crimes seriously, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to track down and prosecute offenders."
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelly S. Karase and Bonnie Glober.