LA Suspects Charged In Pot, Cigarette Scheme - New York News

LA Suspects Charged In Pot, Cigarette Scheme

Posted: Updated:

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Eleven Los Angeles-area residents are among 37 defendants charged in a federal indictment unsealed today in New York targeting a Southeast Asian marijuana and counterfeit cigarette trafficking organization that operated nationwide.

Prosecutors allege members of the ring conspired to produce and distribute more than $45 million worth of marijuana and illegally distribute nearly 44 million cigarettes, resulting in more than $7 million in lost tax revenue.

According to court documents, the Los Angeles-area defendants fulfilled a variety of roles in the ring.

Several were involved in growing pot, while others oversaw transportation or served as money couriers, federal prosecutors allege.

Nine of the 11 Los Angeles-area defendants were arrested early today by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

They are:
-- Paul Coong Lay, 47, of Monterey Park, who along with his brother allegedly oversaw the ring's marijuana grow operations;
-- Steven Qu, 54, of Pomona, owner of Los Angeles-area trucking company

Super Quality Logistics;
   -- Rocky Kuo, 61, of Temple City;
   -- Fu Chan Chuong, 48, of Temple City;
   -- Jia Yuan, 33, of San Gabriel;
   -- Zhu He Wang, 56, of Temple City;
   -- Hung Ho, 42, of Los Angeles;
   -- Kit Poon, 42, of Baldwin Park; and
   -- Qui Sam Ho, 37, of Westminster.
Two other local defendants being sought were identified as Yun Xing, 30, Qu's wife, and Jonathan Fierro, 24, of Los Angeles.

In addition to the arrests, agents raided a pot-growing house in Rosemead and seized nearly 50 pounds of pot and about $50,000 in cash, officials said.

"Today's arrests deal a blow to an organization that allegedly conspired to manufacture multimillion-dollar quantities of marijuana that they would then distribute, along with millions of contraband cigarettes nationwide," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "Thanks to the coordinated efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement around the country, this alleged supply chain has been effectively broken."

Court documents allege that, from at least 2010 to the present, the defendants were part of a nationwide group that grew marijuana and distributed it, as well as black-market cigarettes.

Paul Coong Lay and his brother Chan Coong Lay, of Fresno, allegedly maintained a network of pot-growing spots in California and elsewhere.

In October, based on surveillance of the brothers, law enforcement officers raided a site near Porterville and seized more than 200 pounds of ready-to-sell pot and about 185 plants.

Pot grown by the Lay brothers, along with cigarettes, was shipped to other parts of the country using a Los Angeles-area transportation company -- Super Quality Logistics, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. That company is owned and operated by Steven Qu and his wife Yun Xing, prosecutors contend.

The group allegedly used financial institutions to launder its proceeds, officials said.

Authorities seized more than 25 banks accounts allegedly used by the ring to launder money, including accounts belonging to Super Quality Logistics. A number of vehicles, including several Super Quality Logistics tractor-trailers were also seized, according to federal prosecutors.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:59:51 GMT
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
  • Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:19 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:19:20 GMT
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
  • Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:57:17 GMT
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices