Portland man sentenced to 5 years for illegal marijuana operation

His 2010 case involved police raids in Portland, Vancouver

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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An Oregon man who allegedly abused medical marijuana laws to sell large amounts of pot was sentenced for the crimes on Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Portland.

Tu Ngoc Tran, 38, or Portland, received five years in prison for one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, two counts of manufacturing marijuana, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of wire fraud, according to a bulletin from Gerri Badden with the U.S. Department of Justice. A federal jury convicted Tran of those charges in December.

The case dates back to December 2010, when police from Portland and Clark County raided two homes in Portland and one in Vancouver and found more than 500 marijuana plants and more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana, police said. Also found were forged documents for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, but neither home in Portland was a legally registered grow site.

Officers said members of the crime ring made false statements on mortgage applications to buy homes they used as indoor marijuana-growing operations, and one of the houses was under foreclosure.

On Wednesday, the court ordered Tran to pay nearly $688,000 to the victim lender in the case.

Three others involved in the scheme have pleaded guilty to related offenses. Minhthy Ngoc Tran pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture or distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Huy Ahn Nguyen pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Kiet Ahn Nguyen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank larceny, a misdemeanor.

The case was investigated by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Regional Organized Crime Narcotics Task Force, Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force, FBI and other police agencies.