The Police NewsAlexandria, Va.
Houston Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Scheme
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Texas man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute up to 15 kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court documents, between June 2014 and November 2016, Naleth Vongsengchanh, 50, of Houston, engaged in a conspiracy to traffic quantities of cocaine to Virginia for redistribution and to launder the proceeds. In the beginning of the scheme, Vongsengchanh resided in the Virginia region and sold cocaine locally before relocating to Houston.
Beginning in January 2015, Vongsengchanh began providing other individuals with kilogram quantities of cocaine to be transported from Texas to Virginia by car. Furthermore, Vongsengchanh and his spouse at the time, Oksana Vovk, utilized numerous bank accounts to launder the drug proceeds stemming from the cocaine trafficking. One of the utilized accounts was for an illegitimate business known as Stylish Traveler LLC through which Vongsengchanh and Vovk laundered over $78,000. In addition to the laundering of the proceeds, Vongsengchanh received payment for cocaine via other individuals transporting bulk cash currency for the former couple from the Virginia region to Texas.
Vongsengchanh is a career offender with a lengthy criminal history that includes felony convictions for murder in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and two convictions for manufacturing, sale, and possession of a controlled substance.
Vongsengchanh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, and a maximum term of life in prison when sentenced on April 17. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Russian Roulette. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark Herring, Attorney General for Virginia; Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Michael L. Brown, Alexandria Chief of Police; and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karolina Klyuchnikova is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-033.