Operation Candy Box

On March 31, 2004, DEA announced the culmination of “Operation Candy Box,” a two-year SOD-coordinated OCDETF investigation that encompassed 16 cities in the United States and three in Canada.

This was a two-nation crackdown on a huge drug trafficking ring whose members manufactured bulk quantities of Ecstasy and marijuana in Canada and then shipped them to cities around the

United States. The organization was capable of distributing up to one million MDMA tablets per month in the United States and Canada. The investigation revealed that, Ecstasy trafficking,

previously controlled by Russian and Israeli gangs, had now spread to groups with ties to Southeast Asia. The two principal targets of this investigation were Ze Wai Wong, a Chinese national, and Mai

Phuong Le, a Vietnamese national. It used a sophisticated money laundering network of money remitters and travel agencies in both the United States and Canada to launder millions of dollars in drug

proceeds. Operation Candy Box culminated in late March 2004 with the arrest of more than 140 members of an Asian organization located in 16 U.S. cities and Canada, including Priority Target and

leader of the targeted organization Ze Wai Wong. In early January 2005, DEA Priority Target Ze Wai Wong was extradited from Canada to the United States to face charges related to Operation

Candy Box. Seizures in Operation Candy Box totaled 407,000 MDMA tablets, 1,370 pounds of marijuana, 6.5 pounds of methamphetamine, and $8.9 million in currency.

The dismantlement of Ze Wai Wong’s international drug trafficking organization sent a significant aftershock in the U.S. Ecstasy market. Most significantly, findings of the December 2004 Monitoring the

Future Survey indicated that MDMA use by high school seniors had plummeted 57% from 2001 to 2004. The Survey also reported a 24% decline in perceived availability of MDMA by high school



The following federal, state, and local agencies participated in Operation Candy Box:

Federal Agency Participation:

Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section
Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Internal Revenue Service
State Department, Bureau of Diplomatic Security

United States Attorneys' Offices:
Houston, TX - SDTX
Alexandria, VA - EDVA
Los Angeles, CA - CDCA
Jacksonville, FL - MDFL
New Orleans, LA - EDLA
Baton Rouge, LA - MDLA
Mobile, AL - SDAL
New York, NY - SDNY
Boston, MA - DMass
Atlanta, GA - NDGA
Des Moines, IA - SDIA
Minneapolis, MN - DMinn
Salt Lake City, UT - DUT
San Francisco, CA - NDCA

Canadian Agency Participation:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
CFSEU (Greater Toronto Area)
Ontario Provincial Police
Ottawa Police Service
Canada Border Services Agency

State and Local Law Enforcement Participation:

Massachusetts State Police
Boston Police Department
Boston Housing Police
Milton Police Department
Middlesex County District Attorney's Office

Vermont State Police

New York:
New York City Police Department

Oakland Police Department
South Alameda County Narcotics Task Force
Union City Police Department
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement
Tustin Police Department
Newport Beach Police Department
Huntington Beach Police Department
Garden Grove Police Department
Westminster Police Department

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

North Carolina:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Rock Hill Narcotics Task Force
Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office

Kenner Police Department
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
Louisiana State Police

Mobile Police Department
Bayou La Batre Police Department
Baldwin County Sheriff's Office

Minnesota Gang Strike Force
Anoka-Hennepin Task Force
Minnesota State Gaming Commission
Minnesota State Patrol

Houston Police Department
Texas State Attorney's Investigators Office
Texas Department of Pubic Safety

Bellevue Police Department

Prince George's County Police Department
Montgomery County Police Department
Calvert County Sheriff's Office


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