Vancouver man gets prison for oxycodone-trafficking ring

18 people from four states sentenced

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: April 29, 2013, 9:00 PM

 

A Vancouver man was one of 18 defendants from four states sentenced to prison in one of the largest oxycodone trafficking conspiracies prosecuted in the U.S.

Hung Van Pham, 32, is serving 27 months in prison — one of the shortest sentences among the 18 defendants.

The final defendant, Kingsley Iyare Osemwengie, 27, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced Monday to 210 months in prison by U.S. District Senior Judge Ancer Haggerty in Portland.

“This was a sophisticated drug trafficking organization that diverted legitimate medicine into the black market across the United States,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Matthew Barnes.

The oxycodone distribution ring involved drug trafficking and money laundering in several states. Oxycodone is a prescription pain reliever and opiate that carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and overdose. Those addicted to oxycodone often switch to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to find on the street market.

“Prescriptions such as oxycodone, used illegally, can destroy lives — especially in young people who may use it as a springboard to other illegal narcotics,” stated Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. “The successful prosecution of large-scale distribution and trafficking cases such as this will help stop the flow of illegal oxycodone into the hands of our children and our community.”

This case was initiated in June 2010 by the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis Interdiction Task Force, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service and the Portland Police Bureau.