Eleven Los Angeles-area residents are among 37 defendants charged in a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday 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 Tuesday morning by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
— 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.