Thursday January 29,2015 : FEDS IN ANTI-ONLINE GAMBLING ACTION ACROSS SEVERAL STATES
Eight arrested as investigations continue.
A joint federal task force comprising the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security has been active in Oregon and several other states in pursuit of illegal online gambling and possible drug offences.
Eight persons of Asian descent have so far been arrested on charges of illegal online gambling, money laundering and distributing marijuana across the USA.
The task force carried out raids Wednesday in at least a dozen locations in various states, with seven of the eight individuals arrested subsequently appearing in a preliminary hearing before a US District Court in Portland, Oregon. The eighth detainee was picked up in Orange County, California.
Indictments have been lodged against Kiet Anh Vo, Vinh Tuong Nguyen, Quan Anh Ho, Tan Quoc Tran, Duy Huynh, Nhat Luu, Hoa Nguyen and Thai Viet Huynh.
According to local media reports, Vo is accused of financing and managing the online gambling business and employing multiple "bookies” who took bets from customers over the phone or in person and online through the ring's gambling website, accessed through a username and password on www.vnbets.net.
Vo is also accused of using the illegal gambling proceeds to run his and Vinh Tuong Nguyen's cafe business, which was used to facilitate money transactions related to gambling.
The indictment additionally claims that Vo and Vinh Tuong Nguyen bought marijuana in bulk and shipped it to locations in the South, including Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
In one incident, the indictment alleges that Nguyen was carrying $69,785 in alleged profit from the sale of marijuana when he arrived in Portland on a flight from North Carolina.
All those so far arraigned have entered not guilty pleas, and were subsequently conditionally released by the courts pending trial.
According to court records, the federal government will be seeking the forfeiture of any and all property from the defendants that was tied to the alleged money laundering.