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Sunday, 21 December 2008

Syndicate boss "Mum" Cuong Thi Le, 50, received a maximum term of 12 1/2 years' jail with a minimum of 10 for trafficking

Syndicate boss "Mum" Cuong Thi Le, 50, received a maximum term of 12 1/2 years' jail with a minimum of 10 for trafficking almost 2.08kg of heroin between March and June, 2005. Hao Van Nguyen, 81, received a maximum eight-year sentence with a 4 1/2-year minimum for trafficking a large commercial quantity. Three other female traffickers -- My Cao, 40, Thi Truong, 55, and Nhung Ta, 33 - received sentences ranging from 3 1/2 to two years. All except Ta had pleaded not guilty. Le's son, Dung Le, had previously received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty. In the County Court last week Judge Geoff Chettle described Cuong Le as the principal of a "sophisticated drug empire". After Le's arrest in July 2005 police told an out-of-sessions court hearing she had turned over about $2 million through transactions at Crown that year. Le was subsequently added to a list of 32 Victorians banned for life from the casino. During raids on Le's gang, detectives found about $1 million worth of street-grade heroin and $50,000 in cash and casino chips. As part of her plea before being sentenced, Le claimed a gambling addiction led to her drug-trafficking exploits. Police had listened in on phone calls between gang members, who used codes during conversations to try to hide their activities.


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