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FBI arrests drug ring that also sold 'ghost gun' AR-15s

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES - An FBI-led task force arrested 18 people identified in a series of federal indictments with links to a Southern California drug ring that also sold illegal weapons.

The early morning arrests across Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire were the culmination of Operation "Black Phoenix," which identified 25 suspects involved in illicit narcotics and gun trades. Four of those identified were already in custody, officials said, while three remained at large.

Investigators from the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seized about 28 pounds of methamphetamine, a quarter-pound of cocaine and crack cocaine, and 16 firearms - including several so-called "ghost guns," which lack serial numbers that could be traced by law enforcement.

Six of the accused were involved in a single drug deal involving several pounds of methamphetamine, officials said. One of the seven indictments filed by prosecutors alleges a series of meth sales that include two 1-pound deals and four 2-pound transactions.

In two other indictments unsealed Tuesday, prosecutors detailed illegal weapons sales involving ghost guns. Dau Quay Duong, 53, and Christopher Nguyen, 47, both of Ontario, are charged with illegal firearm sales, accused of selling five AR-15-type rifles with no make, model or serial numbers.

 

In another indictment, Jonathan Domingo Go, 47, of Torrance, was charged with illegally selling three firearms - two .40-caliber pistols and a 5.56mm assault pistol, which also lacked a manufacturing mark and serial number.

The indictments include a variety of charges, including conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute narcotics and substantive narcotics trafficking offenses, such as the distribution of methamphetamine.

If convicted, most of the defendants will face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison, and some will face decades in federal prison because of extensive criminal histories, according to prosecutors.

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