Four people who ran a stash house for criminal gangs in the West Midlands have been convicted following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.
During a surveillance operation, NCA officers followed gang member Bui Tuan, age 26, to a property on Chester Road in Erdington.
He climbed out a BMW carrying a laundry bag, and went into the house, which had been rented by Vien Phan Hoang, 37. NCA officers moved in to raid the property, and as they did two of the occupants – Din Hvan Tran, 26, and Vien’s wife Bui Thi Huong, 29 – were seen attempting to hide packages of money in the garden.
Inside the house search teams recovered more than 130 kilos of cannabis, some of which was vacuum packed in bags ready to go. The rest was hidden inside the walls in the loft area.
A further 600 ecstasy tablets and around £30,000 cash were also found, along with two kilos of a white crystalline powder later identified as ketamine. Some of the cash was found hidden in a bush, while other bundles had been thrown into a neighbouring garden.
The three men and a woman were later charged.
Hoang and Huong both pleaded guilty to the charges against them, but the others denied drug supply and money laundering offences.
In March 2023 Tuan and Tran, who was tried in his absence, were cleared of drug supply offences but found guilty of money laundering at Birmingham Crown Court. They were both give six month suspended sentences. A bench warrant has been issued for Tran’s arrest.
Yesterday (18 August), at the same court Hoang was sentenced to eight years in prison. The Judge said he played a significant role and was involved in large scale drug dealing with his motive being financial gain.
Huong received a six month prison sentence suspended for six months.
NCA senior investigating officer Paul Boniface said:
“This gang ran a stash house for a wider network of criminals – a location where drugs were stored before being pushed out to street dealers and sold, with cash moving in the opposite direction.
“Our investigation led to the seizure of drugs worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, profits from which would have fuelled further criminality and exploitation had we not taken action.
“The NCA and our partners are determined to do all we can to protect the public from serious and organised crime.”