A British Columbia man in charge of a transnational drug trafficking network was sentenced to serve 14 ½ years in U.S. federal prison.
On October 20, 2022, Vincent Yen Tek Chiu of Vancouver, BC, was sentenced to 14 ½ years of imprisonment by a U.S. District Judge after a federal jury found him guilty on numerous drug charges involving the distribution of cocaine, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), and conspiracy to export and distribute controlled substances. Chiu’s conviction, along with the indictment of numerous other associates came as a result of a joint international investigation by the BC RCMP FSOC, FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, LAPD, DEA, and several other partner agencies.
The complex multi-jurisdictional investigation began in 2018 when the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Major Projects Team, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), launched a joint investigation into Chiu’s organized crime activities. As the scope and complexity of the investigation rapidly expanded into further jurisdictions, it intersected and merged with a separate ongoing joint investigation into the network that was being conducted by the (Federal Bureau of Investigation) FBI, and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Special Task Force.
During the course of the investigation, Chiu and his associates’ criminal activities were observed to include an $800,000.00 drug transaction, a 24 Kg MDMA, and 12 Kg cocaine deal, in additional to numerous other drug transactions. While closely monitoring and collecting evidence on the organized crime group’s ongoing criminal activities, investigators interdicted through several enforcement actions that included the seizure of over 90 Kg of cocaine, 8 Kg of heroin, as well as a 33 Kg cocaine seizure in the city of Los Angeles.
By July, 2019, the investigation had revealed that Vincent Chiu was the leader of a sophisticated transnational organized crime network involved in the bulk purchase of cocaine and heroin in the United States, with plans of importing the drugs into Canada.
According to a sentencing memorandum by U.S. prosecutors, Chiucontrolled every aspect of his lucrative and high-volume business: setting up the wholesale drug purchases and dictating the terms and price; managing the financials, including sending invoices for the product and orchestrating the money dropoffs; directing others to conduct quality testing of the product to ensure that it was ‘high heat,’ which was the type of cocaine he demanded.
Chiu also arranged for the transportation of MDMA from Canada into the United States in exchange for cocaine. Chiu’s sophisticated criminal operation involved the use of modified military-grade mobile devices, end-to-end encrypted communication, and the use of big-rig trucks for smuggling cocaine into Canada. Vincent Chiu was also known by numerous pseudo names including
In July 2019, Chiu was arrested by U.S. authorities while trying to travel to Mexico, and charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to export controlled substances, and the distribution of cocaine, heroin, and MDMA.
During the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Chiu was involved in distributing 77 kilograms of cocaine, 8 kilograms of heroin, and 24 kilograms of MDMA, with the total estimated wholesale value of $4.1 million CAD.
Although this highly complex investigation spanned across two nations and multiple jurisdictions, its success serves to demonstrate our collective commitment to serving and protecting the people of our nations, and the international community from the most serious threats posed by transnational criminal elements,said Superintendent Richard Bergevin, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Federal Policing – FSOC Major Projects.
According to the Central District of California’s Department of Justice, several other suspects involved in this drug trafficking conspiracy have received prison sentences, including Anthony Louis Lam of Vancouver, BC, who was sentenced to serve 4 years in federal prison; Henry Liu, of Rosemead, who was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison; Christian Raul Gastelum-Sanchez, of Los Angeles, who was sentenced to serve 5 years in federal prison; Raul Arturo Gastelum-Benitez, of Los Angeles, who was sentenced to serve 4 years in federal prison; and Khonsavanh Vorachack, of Sacramento, CA, who was sentenced to serve 3 years in federal prison.