Charges filed in large pot sales ring

Federal authorities have charged four men with running a huge marijuana distribution ring in and around Snohomish County.

A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that the four men operated out of a rented house in Lake Stevens, and met many times in public places in Lynnwood, Shoreline and Everett.

The case was a joint investigation by the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

During the investigation, the suspects actually rented a house in January of 2005 that is owned by the task force and paid the law agency $1,200 a month. The house was used for illegal storage of marijuana, the complaint says.

In another instance, detectives followed one suspect in a car to Oakland to protect $30,000 in marijuana “buy” money that it spent.

On numerous occasions, telephone conversations with one suspect were intercepted and tape-recorded after judicial approval, the complaint says.

Federal agents Monday arrested Vu Thanh Tran, 25, of Everett.

Also charged are Kayak William Thomas, 26, of Seattle and Sung Min Kim (also known as Steve Kim), 34, of Lake Forest Park. They were arrested over the weekend, Kim with about 140 pounds of marijuana, task force Sgt. Jim Duffy said.

The other suspect, Jason Lee Larson, 34, of Federal Way, was still at large, officials said.

All four are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

“This was a major drug-trafficking organization,” said Adam Cornell, deputy Snohomish County prosecutor who works with the task force and federal prosecutors.

According to the complaint, Thomas reportedly brags that he was having a custom-made trailer made to haul the drugs across the Mexican border.

In the complaint, he allegedly says he obtained the Mexican marijuana for between $300 and $400 a pound and made a substantial profit on it in his dealings in Colorado and Arizona. He also reportedly talks about importing “B.C. Bud,” marijuana grown in British Columbia.

Thomas also bragged about selling coffee and running cafes throughout the West “to have legitimate reasons to be traveling everywhere I’m going,” the complaint says.

In March, the Washington State Patrol stopped Kim for a traffic violation and spotted U-Haul boxes in the back of his Acura. Officers found 118 pounds of marijuana in the boxes.

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