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spacer NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John R. Hagerty
Division of Criminal Justice (609) 984-1936
New Jersey State Police Public Information Office (609) 882-2000
Sgt. Stephen Jones  x6513

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 05, 2006


 
 
State Indictments Charge 11 With Selling Counterfeit Cigarettes, Ecstacy And Marijuana In Wake Of Sweeping Investigation Targeting Criminal Activity In Atlantic City - S. Jersey

TRENTON - Attorney General Zulima V. Farber announced that 11 individuals have been charged in six state grand jury indictments with operating multiple criminal enterprises in the Atlantic City-South Jersey area that include the sale of thousands of cartons of counterfeit cigarettes and the illegal distribution of Ecstacy and marijuana.

“The Attorney General’s Office, through the State Police, Division of Gaming Enforcement and Division of Criminal Justice, is committed to aggressively pursuing criminal activity by prosecuting anyone who engages in any form of crime,” Attorney General Farber said. “These indictments represent the outcome of an extensive investigation that uncovered the importation and sale of thousands of cartons of illegal cigarettes and the sale of illegal and dangerous drugs. The charges are significant and the defendants will face stiff penalties.”

Division of Criminal Justice Director Gregory A. Paw and Thomas Auriemma, Director, Division of Gaming Enforcement, noted that during a two-year period, undercover State Police detectives assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement successfully infiltrated several criminal groups operating out of the Atlantic City-South Jersey-Philadelphia area. The undercover investigation -- “Operation Marlboro” -- resulted in the purchase of more than 32,000 cartons of counterfeit Marlboro Light cigarettes, the purchase of 25,000 Ecstacy pills and the negotiated purchase of more than 80 pounds of hydroponically-grown marijuana.

Criminal Justice Director Paw said the 11 individuals named in the state grand jury indictments were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, counterfeiting, and related criminal violations.

The defendants are identified as:

  • Alex Long, 45, Cherry Hill, Camden County. Charged in five separate state grand jury indictments with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, money laundering, conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, and trademark counterfeiting. Arrested in May, 2005. Released on bail pending state grand jury indictment;
  • Leslie Mak, 44, Mt. Laurel, Burlington County. Charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, money laundering, conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, and trademark counterfeiting. Formerly employed as the Manager of the Golden Dynasty Restaurant at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. Arrested in June, 2005. Released on bail pending state grand jury indictment;
  • Tommy Le, 28, Phila., PA. Charged with money laundering. Arrested in June, 2005. Released on bail pending state grand jury indictment;
  • David Le, 25, Phila., PA. Charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and money laundering. Pending arraignment and bail in Atlantic County Superior Court;
  • Chi Liang “Tommy” Cheung, 40, Brigantine, Atlantic County. Charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, trademark counterfeiting, and money laundering. Pending arraignment and bail in Atlantic County Superior Court;
  • Gon Key Yuen, Atlantic City, Atlantic County. Charged with conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, trademark counterfeiting, and money laundering. Formerly employed as a waiter at the Golden Dynasty Restaurant at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. Pending arraignment and bail in Atlantic County Superior Court;
  • David Diep, 41, Phila., PA. Charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and money laundering. Arrested in May, 2005. Released on bail pending state grand jury indictment;
  • Ky Diep, 44, Phila., PA. Charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Arrested in May, 2005. In custody in state prison on a violation of probation;
  • Nghiep Pho Mach, 31, Phila., PA. Charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Arrested in December, 2005. Incarcerated in Atlantic County Jail;
  • Sang Hoang Le, 29, Phila., PA. Charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Pending arraignment and bail in Atlantic County Superior Court;
  • Alvin Towheng Kim, age unknown, Phila., PA. Charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and money laundering. Pending arraignment and bail in Atlantic County Superior Court;

According to Director Paw, the state grand jury indictments allege that at varying times from April, 2004 through June, 2005, Alex Long and the co-defendants engaged in criminal activity by distributing, possessing, or negotiating the sale of large quantities of illegal drugs, specifically Ecstacy and hydroponically-grown marijuana - marijuana that is extremely potent and expensive. The indictments charge Long and the defendants with selling more than 25,000 Ecstacy pills to the undercover detectives. The street value of the Ecstacy tablets is minimally twenty-five dollars per tablet, with a total street value exceeding $625,000.

Another indictment charged that in May, 2005, Long, David Diep, and Ky Diep negotiated the sale of 80 pounds of hydroponically-grown marijuana with undercover detectives. It is charged that David and Ky Diep delivered approximately ten pounds of hydroponic marijuana to the undercover detectives during a “buy-bust” operation in Atlantic City on May 15, 2005. The Diep’s were subsequently arrested.

A separate state grand jury indictment charged that from October, 2004 to June, 2005, Long, Mak, Cheung, and Yuen negotiated the sale of 32,040 cartons of counterfeit Marlboro Light cigarettes valued at $1.8 million to the undercover detective. The indictment alleges that Mak and Chi Lang Cheung were the principal suppliers of the counterfeit cigarettes and that Long negotiated the black market price of the counterfeit cigarettes at five to eight dollars per carton. The retail price of Marlboro cigarettes is listed at approximately $58.70 per carton or $5.87 per pack.

“The allegations contained in these indictments target the illegal activities of various loosely organized individuals engaged in the business of trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes, illegal drugs, and other contraband. This prosecution sends a message that law enforcement will work together to maximize resources and to put criminals out of business. Investigations targeting the illegal and black market sale of counterfeit and/or contraband cigarettes will continue.” said Director Paw.

“The casino industry is no place for crimes of any type, particularly those involving the distribution of illegal drugs. The Division of Gaming Enforcement will immediately move to suspend and revoke any gaming credentials held by those individuals charged with criminal activity,” Director Auriemma said. "I commend the State Police and the Casino Prosecution Bureau for their diligence in conducting the investigation into the criminal acts affecting the casino industry. It is essential to continue to uphold the integrity of casino gaming in New Jersey."

“The State Police is proud of the accomplishments represented by these indictments,” said Captain Jeff Simpkins, supervisor of the State Police Organized Crime Bureau. “Operation Marlboro touched on so many different organized criminal activities that we’ll be feeding on the intelligence gathered for a long time to come. I’m proud of the skillful undercover and investigative work performed by our troopers and grateful for all the cooperation we received on this job.”

The sweeping, undercover investigation was coordinated by State Police detectives assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement and prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice. The investigation was conducted by New Jersey State Police DSFC Charles Atkinson and Det. Salvatore DeGirolamo of the State Police Casino Unit and State Investigators assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice. Additional investigative support was received from the Pennsylvania State Police, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Margate and Brigantine Police Departments. Deputy Attorney General Kerry Menchen of the Division of Criminal Justice - Casino Prosecution Bureau coordinated the prosecution and presented the case to the state grand jury.

The defendants face more than 20 years in state prison and fines exceeding $200,000 upon any conviction. The indictments were handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg on March 31. The defendants will be ordered to appear in Atlantic County Superior Court for arraignment and bail on a date to be set by the Court. An indictment is an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Additional information, including copies of the state grand jury indictments, is available via the Division of Criminal Justice web page at www.njdcj.org.

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