Air National Guard Soldiers were Sentenced to more than 17 Years in Prison

JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York
Office of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”)
and MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York announced that Master Sergeant
JOHN FONG of the United States Air National Guard was sentenced
on August 31, 2007 to 210 months in prison on federal narcotics
charges stemming from his importation of Ecstasy on board a U.S.
Air Force plane. The sentence was imposed by United States District
Judge JOHN G. KOELTL.

“Justice has been served. John Fong betrayed the public trust by
smuggling illegal drugs into the very community he was entrusted to
protect. For his betrayal and for his illegal drug trafficking, he will be
spending the next 17 years behind bars,” stated Special Agent in
Charge John P. Gilbride.

FONG, 38, and his co-defendant FRANKLIN RODRIGUEZ, a former
Captain in the United States Air National Guard, both pleaded guilty
on May 19, 2006, to one count of conspiring to import into the
United States, and one count of conspiring to possess and distribute Ecstasy. The charges were the result of an international
investigation of the importation of Ecstasy on military aircraft and the
distribution of the drug in the United States. As set forth in the
Indictment: On April 12, 2005, RODRIGUEZ and FONG flew from
Germany to Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New
York, aboard a United States Air Force C-5A “Galaxy” cargo aircraft
on which they had hidden more than 200,000 Ecstasy pills.
RODRIGUEZ also stored Ecstasy pills and approximately $725,000
in cash in his apartment in the Bronx, New York, and RODRIGUEZ
and FONG stored approximately 60,000 pills in an automobile in
Tampa, Florida. Judge KOELTL sentenced RODRIGUEZ to 17 ½
years’ imprisonment on October 13, 2006.

Mr. GARCIA praised the efforts of the Drug Enforcement
Administration and the members of the New York Organized Crime
Drug Enforcement Strike Force, who led the investigation along with
this Office. The Strike Force was formed in May 2004, with the
stated purpose of identifying, targeting, and dismantling the world’s
most sophisticated and powerful narcotics trafficking organizations.
Consisting of more than 200 law enforcement officers from the
United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City
Police Department, the United States Internal Revenue Service
Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, the United States
Marshals Service, the United State Secret Service and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Strike Force
combines the resources and talents of the participating agencies to
bear against the largest suppliers of illegal drugs to the United
States.

Mr. GARCIA also thanked the military personnel at Stewart Air
National Guard Base, the United States Air Force, Office of Special
Investigations, and the United States Department of Defense,
Defense Criminal Investigative Service, for their assistance.

Source: United States Department of Justice

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