A criminal complaint against Trinh, 45, and operation participants Lan Jin, of Berkeley, and Andy Wong, of Oakland, was filed with the court by a special agent of the FBI on April 30, 2010. The complaint stated that according to evidence, Trinh, Jin and Wong had engaged in a conspiracy from 2008 to 2010 in which they cultivated and distributed marijuana as part of a large-scale operation.
Trinh, Jin and Wong were arrested during the execution of a federal search warrant on April 29, 2010. According to the criminal complaint filed, federal agents found about 160 plants that were soon determined to be marijuana plants at Trinh and Jin’s Berkeley residence. Agents also found indicators of an indoor marijuana-growing operation, such as fans and hydroponic growing tools, in the garage.
Additionally, agents found 729 marijuana plants in the lower level of Wong’s residence, according to the complaint.
In a bedroom of Trinh and Jin’s home, a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with eight rounds was found. Agents also found considerable amounts of what appeared to be cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
The office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag stated that Trinh made his initial appearance in federal court on May 3, 2010.
In March 2012, Trinh admitted he was in charge of managing the marijuana operation sites. He also admitted to stealing electricity from Pacific Gas and Electric Company in order to support the operation.
According to a June 26 press release from Haag’s office, Trinh was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison “for masterminding a large-scale marijuana cultivation conspiracy.” The sentence, which was determined by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, included “a five-year period of supervised release and a restitution order of $74,000.”
Wong and Jin were sentenced to 24 months and 12 months, respectively.