Public Order Crimes
Operation Candy Box
In August 2003 three laboratories each capable of producing hundreds of thousands of Ecstasy tablets every month were discovered in Canada and dismantled by Canadian law enforcement. At the U.S.-Canadian border city of Burlington, Vermont, $750,000 of U.S. cash was hidden in the fuel tank of a vehicle entering Canada. Both finds contributed important information to a three-year, two-nation investigation called Operation Candy Box.
On March 31, 2004, officials of the U.S. attorney general's office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced arrests of more than 130 defendants from across the United States and Canada. All defendants were accused of playing roles in a huge drug trafficking ring that manufactured and distributed Ecstasy pills and marijuana in Canada and the United States. The two ringleaders arrested were Ze Wai Wong, a Chinese national (citizen) in charge of distribution, and Mai Phuong Lee, a Vietnamese national, who channeled the millions in profits into banks.
In the March 31 announcement, DEA administrator Karen Tandy said, "Out of all the dangers of illegal drugs, Ecstasy is of special concern because it is aimed at our teens and youth masquerading as colorful candy. Today we have decimated a criminal organization that has poisoned our neighborhoods with up to a million Ecstasy tablets per month and sent as much as $5 million in proceeds abroad per month over five years."
Operation Candy Box revealed that Ecstasy trafficking had ties to Asian organized crime groups operating in Canada and the United States. Candy Box also revealed how as much as five million illegal dollars could be deposited into the U.S.
banking system each month, moved out to worldwide banks including those in Vietnam, and not be detected as suspicious.
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