Final member of local drug trafficking organization sentenced to 78 months in federal prison
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WCTV) - According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office - Northern District of Florida, the fifth and final member of a local drug trafficking organization has been sentenced to federal prison.
Kevin C. Bui of Fort Walton Beach was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison following his August conviction on drug and money laundering conspiracy charges.
Bui, along with four other men, trafficked thousands of pounds of marijuana into North Florida from California and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds to send back to their supplier in California, according to the Office.
“This man and his co-conspirators polluted North Florida with their drugs, then laundered the proceeds to be shipped out of state. Their federal prison sentences are key to disrupting and dismantling this drug trafficking organization,” U.S. Attorney Keefe, who announced the sentence, said. “This case is another example of how federal, state, and local law enforcement can work effectively to put organizations like this out of business.”
A 14 month-long investigation, beginning in 2017, was led by federal, state and local law enforcement in the Northern District of Florida and resulted in all 5 men being arrested.
Bui, along with three other Florida-based defendants, conspired with and relied upon a fifth defendant, the organization’s California-based supplier, to mail thousands of pounds of marijuana into the Northern District of Florida, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
In exchange, the Florida-organization funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through bank accounts and purchased money orders and cashier’s checks at local grocery and convenience stores with marijuana trafficking proceeds, in order to transfer the money back to the source in California.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, during the execution of search and arrest warrants, law enforcement seized thousands of dollars in cash, precious jewelry, controlled substances and other items.
Each suspect was charged on one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bui’s co-conspirators all pled guilty to the charges, while Bui was convicted by a federal jury in August of 2020.
The sentences imposed for all five defendants are as follows:
- Phi T. Nguyen, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 120 months in federal prison
- Kevin C. Bui, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 78 months in federal prison
- Larry Millard Harrison, II, of Mary Esther, Florida, 84 months in federal prison
- Philip H. Ly, of Mary Esther, Florida, 60 months in federal prison
- Hoang B. Pham, of Temple City, California, 40 months in federal prison.