And then there was agony.
Jimmy Luong, a 30-year-old from Monterey Park, was somewhat of an Ecstasy kingpin in these parts, responsible for the distribution of at least 1 million pills in just a few months' time, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A.
Now he'll be living in a cell …
… for 22 years, the office announced today.
That was the sentence handed down by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who said Luong's Ecstasy business was “extraordinary.”
Luong had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic Ecstasy, conspiracy to make methamphetamine, and possession of an illicit, custom-made assault rifle.
The 30-year-old had a stash house in the City of Industry that included a meth-making operation, feds say. (Meth is a component of Ecstasy, though it's not clear to us if that was the point, or if the speed manufacturing was a sideline.)
Law enforcement found more than 750,000 pills at that location and at another tied to Luong on Arcadia. The ring was felt far and wide in Southern California: The investigation even involved Beverly Hills Police.
The bust came the same summer 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez died from an Ecstasy overdose after she attended the controversial Electric Daisy Carnival rave, a connection that didn't go unnoticed by U.S. Attorney in L.A. André Birotte Jr.
He said, at the time:
The death of a teenage 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. We have now dismantled one large-scale Ecstasy ring, and other MDMA traffickers should know that we're coming after them next.
Fifteen other men were indicted in 2010 as part of Luong's ring.
Most significant was the scope of these conspiracies, which included distribution of at least 1 million Ecstasy pills over a several-month period, along with manufacturing at least 500 grams of methamphetamine from defendant's massive and chemically dangerous laboratory in the City of Industry.
While cocaine and heroin used to be big targets for the DEA, you can sure bet that Ecstasy is on its map. DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum:
Ecstasy use, particularly by our teens and youth, has continued to increase during the past 10 years. Today's sentencing sends a message to those who prey on our communities by manufacturing and distributing these dangerous drugs. DEA and our law enforcement partners will not rest until these criminals are no longer able to prey on our communities.
So the next time you drop, kiddies, think about the kinds of shady people it took to get that pill to your tongue.