STUDIO CITY/LOS ANGELES—On Wednesday, September 22, a two-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, led to the arrest of a street gang in the area of San Gabriel that morning. The operation was known as “Operation Paint It Black,” conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and other authority officials. A task force arrested 18 defendants who were named in a federal grand jury indictment. The 19 count-indictment includes distribution of ecstasy, marijuana cultivation in Studio City, Santa Clarita and Riverside, and a scheme in which foreign nationals paid tens of thousands of dollars to marry American women so they could obtain permanent resident status. The indictment originally charges 20 defendants and it was returned on August 24, by a federal grand jury.
Only 18 of those defendants were arrested that morning, but authorities are continuing to search for the remaining two. The name of the Asian street gang is called the “Red Door.” During the ongoing investigation, authorities also “seized seven firearms, more than 12,500 ecstasy pills, 2,230 marijuana plants and a Lamborghini,” according to court documents.
According to Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge, “The DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to getting the criminal organizations distributing ecstasy and dangerous drugs out of our communities.” The drug does severe harm to teens and, especially, to the community. Where the “sham marriages” are concerned, the indictment specifically discusses three of them, through which “foreign nationals obtained permanent resident status.”
The defendants arrested are expected to be arraigned on the indictment on the same day in United States District Court. The DEA also states, “the charges in the indictment carry statutory maximum penalties ranging from 20 years in federal prison for some of the drug trafficking charges to five years in federal prison for those charged in the marriage fraud conspiracy.”
Those named in the indictment are: Nathan Nwobi, 36, of Culver City, who allegedly operated marijuana “grow houses” in Santa Clarita and Studio City (Nwobi is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities); Kyle Carriere, 23, of Rowland Heights, who is charged with distributing ecstasy, as well as illegally selling firearms, including a 0.357 magnum revolver and two 9mm semiautomatic handguns; Henry Chen, 21, of Rowland Heights, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy; Tony Tuan Dam, 22, of Huntington Beach, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy; Katrina Yu, 21, of Rowland Heights, who allegedly trafficked in more than 10,000 ecstasy pills; Andy Lai, 28, of El Monte, who is charged with trafficking 5,000 ecstasy pills in conjunction with Yu; Richie Le, 26, who resides in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, who assisted Carriere in conducting ecstasy transactions; Lawrence Liu, 22, of Diamond Bar, who allegedly supplied Carriere with ecstasy, participated in the cultivation of marijuana and assisted setting up sham marriages; Brian Ly, 22, of Alhambra, who allegedly helped Nwobi with the marijuana-growing operation; Edward Su, 22, of San Gabriel, who allegedly assistant Nwobi with the marijuana-growing operation; Michael Chen, 22, of Diamond Bar, who allegedly cultivated marijuana in a house in Riverside in conjunction with Liu; Jun Paz, 25, of West Covina, who allegedly assisted Carriere; Steven Settino Siino, 22, of San Dimas, who allegedly sold ecstasy; Allen Chen, 26, of Arcadia, who allegedly orchestrated the marriage fraud component of the case; Sylvia Ho, 22, of Rowland Heights, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage in exchange for $15,000; Seong Chun Tan, 32, of Alhambra, a Malaysian national who allegedly paid to marry Ho; Jane Kim, 23, of Yorba Linda, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage; Chun Chih Hu, 29, who resides in an unincorporated Los Angeles County near Irwindale, a Taiwanese national who allegedly paid to marry Jane Kim; Angela Kim, 22, who resides in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, an American citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage; and Feng Ye, 38, of Flushing, New York, a Chinese national who allegedly paid to marry Angela Kim (Ye is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities).