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Federal sentencing handed down for Anchorage couple on drug trafficking and money laundering charges

(Source: Associated Press)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 2:55 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After a 2018 arrest, a couple from Anchorage has been sentenced to over three years in federal prison on money laundering and drug conspiracy charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska reported Thursday that 47-year-old May Saelee and 47-year-old Cher Vang were both charged in 2019 and sentenced on Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess. Saelee was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in August 2019. Vang was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in July 2019. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Collins prosecuted the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“With today’s sentencing, we have put an end to another drug trafficking ring responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in Anchorage and the surrounding area,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Wilson said in the press release. “These dangerous drugs are destructive poisons that threaten the health and safety of our communities. We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure that drug traffickers are held responsible for the harm they cause.”

The report says that the couple were the target of a months-long federal investigation into a drug ring in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage and states that between August 2011 and their arrest in August 2018, both Saelee and Vang distributed methamphetamine from their home and other locations in Anchorage, totaling over 306 grams.

The report also states that between March 2015 and their arrest in August 2018, they made structured bank deposits totaling over $150,000 into accounts that voided federal banking requirements as a means to conceal the source of their money as drug proceeds.

The couple will forfeit jewelry, guns, personal property and money that the U.S. Attorney’s report states was purchased with the proceeds of their criminal activity. The Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service — Criminal Investigation all contributed to the investigation.

“Drug trafficking and money laundering cause immense harm to our communities,” Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Seattle Field Office Bret Kressin said in the release. “IRS-CI will continue to use our expertise to investigate those who knowingly traffic these damaging substances and will continue to bring these individuals to justice.”

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