July 17 – GRAND FORKS – A man from Quebec, Canada, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for federal crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl and money laundering.
According to a press release from the North Dakota District of the United States Attorney’s Office, 43-year-old Xuan Cahn Nguyen was extradited from Canada to the United States on January 6, 2021.
On May 31, 2022, Nguyen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute and import controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily harm or death.
Nguyen acknowledged assisting Daniel Vivas Ceron and Jason Berry in their international operation to distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, according to the statement. The operation was conducted from inside the Drummond Correctional Institution in Drummondville, Quebec.
Berry’s sentencing is scheduled for July 24 and Ceron’s is scheduled for July 25.
Nguyen’s case is part of Operation Denial, an investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF) into the international trafficking of fentanyl.
The investigation began in North Dakota on Jan. 3, 2015, after an overdose death in Grand Forks, the statement said.
Under Operation Denial, 31 defendants were charged in North Dakota and three were charged in Oregon. Nearly $1 million in cash and property was confiscated from members of the organization, the statement said.
Jian Zhang from China is currently a fugitive in this transnational investigation. In 2021, a reward of up to $5 million was offered for information leading to Zhang’s arrest.
North Dakota agencies involved in the investigation include: the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the IRS Local Criminal Investigation Bureau in Fargo, the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, and the Grand Forks Police Department.
When Nguyen is released from prison, he will be on probation for three years.