‘One Family Clique’ Gang Member Washed Drug Money at Canada Casinos
Posted on: September 12, 2023, 11:44h.
Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 07:50h.
A leader of the “One Family Clique” street gang pleaded guilty in Boston Thursday to conspiracy to traffic cocaine and laundering millions of dollars of drug money through Canadian casinos.
Virak Prum, aka “Polo,” “Capo,” and “Lips,” is the second-in-command of the Lowell, Mass.-based One Family Clique (OFC), according to prosecutors. He and his coconspirators are accused of orchestrating a massive drug trafficking operation that instigated a “dramatic spike” in gang violence in the Lowell area.
OFC is an alliance between primarily Asian Boston-area gangs with ties to outfits in California and other states, court documents state.
In 2018 and 2019, at least 12 incidents of gunfire in Lowell were attributed to gang-related hostilities between OCF and its rival, the Outlaws, according to federal prosecutors. Some of these incidents resulted in the deaths of gang members, according to court documents.
The escalation of violence prompted Lowell police to contact the FBI, which led the investigation, dubbed “Operation Street Roulette.”
Prum’s crew used the U.S. Postal Service to send cash and receive drug shipments, unaware that investigators were conducting “sneak and peek” search warrants on some of these packages before returning them to the mail system.
On one occasion, they discovered that Sarath Yut, described as the OFC’s ‘number one,’ sent $54,000 in cash through the mail to a California drug supplier.
Throughout a two-year investigation, undercover federal agents seized or purchased 12 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2.4 kilograms of cocaine, 2.1 kilograms of MDMA, 513 grams of heroin, and 169 grams of Fentanyl, plus $177,591 in cash and seven firearms.
In May 2021, Prum led what he understood was a money laundering operation – receiving a shipment of €8 million that was purported to be the proceeds of black tar heroin sales in Europe. Prum believed the shipment was headed to casinos in Canada to be laundered. In fact, the whole thing was an FBI sting.
Prum was arrested in June 2021, along with 15 other gang members, including Yut. He is the final defendant in the group to plead guilty in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 14.
He faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible lifetime of supervised release.
Canadian casinos have been under fire in recent years for lax money laundering controls. Meanwhile, critics say the country’s anti-money laundering laws are weak, and convictions are rare, which has attracted criminals.
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