Brooklyn Park couple convicted of large marijuana sales operation
A neighbor’s suspicions about drug dealing in his Brooklyn Park neighborhood resulted in the seizure of nearly 250 pounds of marijuana and convictions of three people for possession of the illegal drug, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.
A Hennepin County jury found Tracee Chung, 33, of 8041 Morgan Circle, Brooklyn Park, guilty Wednesday of aiding and abetting first-degree sale of marijuana. She will be sentenced Nov. 30 and assistant Hennepin County Attorneys Erin Lutz and Gretchen Gray Larson will be seeking a sentence of 86 months in prison.
Sleum Prodfuang, 36, who lived with Chung at the Morgan Circle home, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree possession with intent to sell and is expected to be sentenced to 90 months in prison. Leslie Wayne Campbell, 30, of Savage pleaded guilty to third-degree possession with intent to sell and was sentenced to probation.
“Drug dealing can be a nuisance to a neighborhood because of the traffic and undesirable people it can attract,” Freeman said. “That is exactly what was happening here and a sharp-eyed neighbor tipped off police. We are satisfied with the three convictions and lengthy prison time for the two ring-leaders.”
According to the criminal complaint, and testimony in Chung’s trial, a Morgan Circle neighbor called police on June 19, 2014 to report a van with Washington state license plates had arrived at the Chung/Prodfuang home and since then other cars had arrived and departed after brief stays. When police arrived, they saw a black sports car and a gold Cadillac leave the house.
Officers stopped the Cadillac and Campbell was the driver. Smelling marijuana, they searched the trunk and found a duffel bag with 20 plastic bags of the drug. While police were with Campbell, the black sports car, driven by Prodfuang, drove by and then sped away. Police pulled him over and recovered more than $36,000 in cash from him and the car, according to the complaint.
Police then obtained a search warrant for the house and Chung arrived home just before the investigators showed up. She let them in the house where they found more marijuana and another $6,000 in cash. Evidence in the trial indicated that the marijuana was worth at least $900,000 and some of it had just arrived from California in the van.
Testimony in Chung’s trial and Prodfuang’s guilty plea indicated that Prodfuang was the main player in the marijuana enterprise and he was the one who made the arrangements for the drugs to be shipped to Minnesota in the rental van. An examination of Chung’s cell phone revealed her participation in her boyfriend’s drug dealing. The couple moved into the house in 2013, and while it was unclear how long the drug operation had been going on, Chung had an earlier conviction for possession when Prodfuang mailed her a package with drugs from New Mexico to her place of employment in Big Lake.
The jury took about four hours to reach a verdict after a five-day trial.
Criminal Complaint (PDF)