BOSTON (WWLP) – A New York Man was arrested in connection with an international money laundering and drug trafficking organization involving cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy).
According to the Justice Department in Boston, 48-year-old Qing Hua Sun, a/k/a “Ben,” of Brooklyn, New York, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was the 12th person arrested in connection with the conspiracy of at least $25 million.
The 11 individuals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and California were indicted in October 2022 for their alleged involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering and drug trafficking organization led by Jin Hua Zhang.
During the investigation, the group allegedly discussed efforts to launder funds from drug trafficking and other frauds by converting the funds to cryptocurrency for a fee. According to court documents, Zhang and Sun’s laundering operation included funds derived from fraud operations based in Cambodia, which Sun was responsible for cultivating.
It is alleged that, to date, funds have been traced from the Zhang Organization to Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, India, Cambodia, and Brazil, among other locations. Additionally, a portion of the funds Zhang, Sun, and their associates sought to launder, was seized.
“We allege that this group of individuals conspired to sell deadly narcotics in Massachusetts communities and then laundered millions of dollars worth of their drug proceeds through a global network to conceal their illegal activity. Thanks to the incredible collaboration between federal, state, and local law enforcement, this alleged large-scale criminal enterprise has been stopped in its tracks,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Money is the lifeblood of drug trafficking activity and those who launder directly contribute to the ongoing drug crisis. Dirty money always leaves a trace, and no amount of laundering – whether through financial institutions or digital currency exchanges – will allow perpetrators to evade detection by law enforcement. That is a promise.”
According to the charging documents, Zhang’s network was first detected in the greater Boston area, but leaders and members of the organization were later identified throughout the United States and overseas. During the investigation, Zhang allegedly directed his co-defendant couriers, and others, to deliver to undercover agents hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and millions of dollars in wire transfers and bank deposits. In exchange, Zhang allegedly sought to obtain cryptocurrency, which he believed would enable his organization to transfer illicit funds without detection by banks’ security teams or law enforcement.
Sun was arrested in Brooklyn Tuesday and was released on conditions following an initial appearance in the Eastern District of New York. He is scheduled on May 30th in federal court in Boston. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the amount involved, whichever is greater.