Fifteen suspects were indicted this week following a federal investigation in the Los Angeles area that led to the seizure of 1.1 million tablets of ecstasy -- $17 million worth, the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A. announced Thursday. The U.S. Attorney in L.A., André Birotte Jr., reminded the public of the post-rave death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez in June as an example of the danger the drug poses.
Federal authorities allege that the ring, based mainly in the San Gabriel Valley, was "responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of MDMA pills every month."
The indictment accuses the 15 in "participating in a conspiracy to possess and distribute
huge quantities of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"Ecstasy is a dangerous narcotic that can cause death, as we have seen at a
number of local events in recent years,: said Birotte Jr. "The death of a teen-age girl at a rave several weeks ago and the huge number of tablets recently seized from this drug ring clearly demonstrate that ecstasy is a growing problem."
He said of other E traffickers, "we're coming after them next."
The feds allege that the ring was headed by Jimmy Luong, a man who they claim had a stash house in the City of Industry. A drug-making lab was found at that home, they said. A second stash house in Arcadia was also found, they said.
Besides thousands of ecstasy pills, authorities said they also found (and seized) $500,000 in cash and 21 guns, including assault rifles and stolen weapons. Federal authorities also said they found hollow-point ammunition.
-Jimmy Luong, 29, of Monterey Park.
-Tony Barerra Jr., 37, of West Covina.
-Toan Hoang, 33, of El Monte.
- Lok Lim, 33, of El Monte.
-Christopher Ammen, 21, of El Monte.
-David Luu, 21, of Monterey Park.
-Joseph Yao, 26, of Temple City.
-John Underwood, 42, of La Mirada.
-Jesse Roman, 24, of Los Angeles.
-Michael Duong, 27, of Rosemead,
-David Kong, 22, of Los Angeles.
-Sam Ha, 31, of El Monte.
-Duy Nguyen, 22, of Fountain Valley.
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-Long Nguyen, 22, of Santa Ana.
-Tuan Vu, 24, of Alhambra.
Authorities say Vu is at-large. Kong has agreed to surrender, they said. Thirteen who are in custody were scheduled to be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in downtown L.A.
Each could face 20 years or more in prison.