Elmwood Village Properties Forfeited in International Drug Prosecution

October 28, 2010 Updated Oct 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming


Elmwood Village Properties Forfeited in International Drug Prosecution

October 28, 2010 Updated Oct 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - A federal judge has ordered the forfeiture of two parcels of real property in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village which were purchased with drug proceeds from an international drug organization, according to U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

The properties, a commercial building located at 427 Elmwood Avenue, and a single-family residence at 262 Bryant Street, were forfeited as part of a five-year Boston, Massachusetts-based Organized Crime Drug Task Force investigation and prosecution.

Buffalo-based DEA and ICE agents and forfeiture specialists in the Buffalo U.S. Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation and prosecution.

Four member of a Boston family with ties to the Buffalo area were convicted and sentenced in federal court in Boston for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute MDMA, also known as ecstasy, money laundering conspiracy, being a felon in possession of firearms, and perjury. The four were sentenced to serve a combined total of about sixty years in prison.

The convictions also included an order to forfeit all assets belonging to the family, including the Elmwood Village properties, about $22,000 cash, three Mercedes Benz vehicles, a Cadillac Escalade, a custom-made platinum and diamond necklace, a Rolex watch, and two firearms.

“This very successful joint investigation into drug trafficking resulted in very significant sentences against these four members of the Trinh family and others who conspired with them. We are very pleased with the outcome,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul and Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “This case sends the strong message that drug trafficking, and particularly drug trafficking on this grand scale, will not be tolerated, and that those who engage in it risk destroying their families, losing their freedom, and losing the money and property they gained through their crimes.”

Both Elmwood Village properties were purchased in the names of defendant Anna Trinh and one of her daughters, who was not charged, in January 2005 and paid for, in full, with nearly $500,000.00 of the organization’s drug proceeds.

Quoc Bao Trinh and his co-conspirators imported large amounts of marijuana and ecstasy into and through Western New York using the Canadian border crossings. The Trinhs had been using the 262 Bryant property for approximately a year in efforts to grow marijuana to supply their operation when the Trinhs and their co-defendants were arrested, and the property was searched by Buffalo and Boston-based agents, in early February 2007.

The commercial building at 427 Elmwood Avenue, includes the `Wine Thief’ Wine Bar and several other small businesses and apartments. U.S. Attorney Hochul stressed that until the February 2007 search, the tenants of the Elmwood Avenue property did not know their landlord was a major drug trafficker and that the tenants had nothing to do with the Trinhs’ criminal activities.

Both properties will be sold through the United Marshals Service and all proceeds will be used to further law enforcement efforts.