California Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – STEPHEN LUONG, age 62, a resident of Oakland, California, was sentenced on May 25, 2022 by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo to one-hundred twenty (120) months imprisonment, five (5) years of supervised release, and $200.00 in mandatory special assessment fees after pleading guilty to two (2) counts of a twenty-four count superseding indictment that charged him with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute One Thousand Kilograms or More of Marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, and Possession with Intent to Distribute One Hundred Kilograms or More of Marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court documents, in July 2019, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division Agent received information regarding a large-scale marijuana distribution ring in the metro area.  Additional investigation by agents revealed that on July 26, 2019, LUONG rented a storage facility in Metairie, Louisiana which he used to store marijuana and proceeds from the sale of marijuana.  In September of 2019, agents conducting surveillance at the facility observed LUONG deposit a bag in one of the storage units.  A subsequent traffic stop of LUONG after he exited the facility resulted in the seizure of $395,101.00 in cash.  In a post-arrest statement, LUONG admitted that he traveled by air to various states to transport money.  As agents continued their investigation, they learned that between June 2019 and August 2019, LUONG routinely shipped hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Oakland, California to the Eastern District of Louisiana, then traveled to New Orleans to obtain the proceeds of the sold marijuana and return to Oakland. 

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This prosecution was part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets. 

This case was investigated by the Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution was handled by former Assistant United States Attorney Mobayonle Osundare and Assistant United States Attorney André Jones.