Three people sentenced for operating fentanyl trafficking organization

By SDCN Editor

A Colombian man was sentenced Tuesday to 27 years in prison for operating an international fentanyl trafficking organization while in prison, federal prosecutors said.

According to court documents, 43-year-old Daniel Vivas Ceron – while in prison in Quebec, Canada – was the leader and organizer of an international criminal enterprise that distributed large amounts of fentanyl. Using a contraband cell phone from inside the prison, Ceron and co-conspirator Jason Joey Berry, 40, of Montreal, Canada, arranged shipments of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China to Canada and the United States as part of the criminal enterprise. The distribution of these substances in the United States led to 15 overdoses, four of which were fatal, and 11 of which caused serious bodily injury.  

On July 24, Berry was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Berry coordinated the acquisition of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China, the receipt of the drugs in Canada, and the further distribution of fentanyl products to the United States. 

On July 17, co-conspirator Xuan Cahn Nguyen, aka Jackie, aka Jackie Chan, 43, of Point-Aux-Tremble, Quebec, Canada, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Nguyen assisted Berry and Ceron in acquiring fentanyl, distributing the drugs to the United States, and collecting the narcotics proceeds.

“The defendants whose sentences we are announcing today purchased fentanyl from global suppliers in China and elsewhere and conspired to sell it here in the United States,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

“The sentences announced in these cases are the result of partnerships across the U.S. government and with allies around the world to disrupt and dismantle the global supply-and-delivery chain flooding fentanyl across borders,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. 

Operation Denial has led to 31 defendants charged in the District of North Dakota and three defendants charged in the District of Oregon. The investigation has resulted in nearly $1 million in cash and property forfeited from members of the organization. In addition to Ceron, Berry, and Nguyen, defendants sentenced or convicted in this case include[1]:

On Aug. 31, 2021, the U.S. Department of State offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of People’s Republic of China (PRC) national Jian Zhang, a fugitive in this transnational investigation. Additional fugitives from China include Na Chu, 37, Pulandian City, Liaoning Province, China; Yeyou Chu, 36, Pulandian City, Liaoning Province, China; Cuiying Liu, 62, Dezhou City, Shangdong Province, China; and Keping Zhang, 62, Dezhou City, Shangdong Province, China.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in securing foreign evidence and the extradition of four Operation Denial defendants: Nguyen, Berry, Vannek Um, and Marie Um.

Operation Denial is an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into the international trafficking of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and was significantly aided by the national and international coordination led by the multi-agency Special Operations Division. 

The investigation started on Jan. 3, 2015, with the overdose death of Bailey Henke in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and eventually led to the indictment, and subsequent conviction, of multiple defendants.

Similar Posts