Brian Sims

Crime gang members jailed for drugs and money laundering offences

SEVERAL ORGANISED crime gang members have been imprisoned in the wake of a trial held at Southwark Crown Court for “industrial scale” cannabis production, money laundering and fraud.

My Ha Do was found guilty of five counts of offences including the supply of drugs, fraud and money laundering and has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Hanh Tuyet Nguyen was found guilty of five counts of fraud and money laundering offences and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Huyen Phoung Thi Phan was found guilty of one count of money laundering and duly sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

The fourth gang member, namely Thi Ngoc Nguyen, was convicted of two counts of money laundering and sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months. All four defendants are originally from Vietnam and were members of an organised criminal gang.

Ha Do was at the top of the hierarchy of the crime gang involved in the large-scale growing and supply of cannabis. In addition to the drugs offending, the police investigation and prosecution team uncovered evidence of arranging sham marriages and the production of false identity documents for the movement of Vietnamese individuals for people trafficking purposes.

Ha Do was also revealed to be a key player in the gang’s money laundering offending as she directed the movement of funds and gave advice on how to avoid banks’ money laundering controls and regulations.

Money laundering

Hanh Nguyen ran the gang’s sophisticated money laundering operation, setting up numerous bank accounts and creating a clothing business as a means of integrating cash from these organised crimes into the banking system.

Phan occupied a key role as what is known as a ‘layering money launderer’ in the gang, using the business that Hanh Nguyen had set up to as a channel for the movement of criminal money to Vietnam.

For her part, Thi Nguyen allowed her bank accounts to be used for the transfer of criminal money.

Sophisticated operation

Kevin Hansford, unit head prosecutor for the Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate at the Crown Prosecution Service commented: “This was a highly sophisticated criminal gang who used devious and complex methods to hide the activities of their industrial scale illegal drugs production and their profits through the money laundering of this dirty cash via business fronts.”

Hansford continued: “They did not just stop there. They were also heavily involved in fake marriages and false identity documents, which was for the sole purpose of people trafficking. I would like to thank the police investigators for their tireless work in this case. They operated in partnership with the prosecution team to dismantle and stop an organised criminal gang whose drug activities were no doubt blighting communities and neighbourhoods.”

In conclusion, Hansford stated: “We will be pursuing ill-gotten gains from these proceeds of crime.”

As an organisation, the CPS is committed to working with police investigators to stop the activities of highly organised criminal gangs and bring them to justice.

The Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate at the Crown Prosecution Service was launched on 1 April and is the organisation’s response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime as the lines in these areas of crime continue to become more blurred.

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