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12 charged in connection with marijuana distribution conspiracy, prosecutors say

(Photo: MGN Online)

Rochester, N.Y. – 12 people have been charged in connection with a marijuana distribution conspiracy, according to federal prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, two of the 12 defendants, 50-year-old Phoumano Duangtavilay and 62-year-old Khonesavanh Vongxay led a marijuana distribution operation in Rochester since 2014, and were assisted by the remaining 10 defendants in distributing marijuana.

The other 10 defendants include 50-year-old Kongchay Kongthong, 56-year-old Manivone Phommaviseth, 20-year-old James Vongxay, 29-year-old Chandy Vongxay, 40-year-old Keith Surivan, 47-year-old Phetnalay Douangtavilay, 33-year-old Phou Daoreuang, 26-year-old Danisha Ford, 20-year-old Jerimiah Torres and 39-year-old Kongdeuane Vongxay. In addition to assisting in distribution, prosecutors say these 10 individuals also obtained money orders through structured purchases to hide the proceeds they received from drug sales.

Prosecutors say the marijuana was brought to Rochester from California, and money orders were sent to California in return. They say, in total, more than 1,000 parcels believed to have contained marijuana were shipped from California, through the U.S. Postal Service, between Agust 2015 and January 2018.

Authorities reportedly executed search warrants at nine locations in Rochester in connection with the investigation, as well as on packages that allegedly contained marijuana or money orders. In all, investigators say they recovered more than 130 pounds of marijuana and more than $180,000 in money orders.

All the suspects have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing marijuana.

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