Investigative Programs: Organized Crime
In 1997, the New York City FBI office initiated an international Southeast Asian heroin trafficking investigation in concert with several other FBI field offices targeting Weng Keek Hoo. Hoo had been recently released from prison and deported to Hong Kong for previous drug trafficking convictions. The investigation revealed Hoo had successfully re-established ties to heroin distributors in several United States cities and was now residing in New York City.
Using confidential sources, court authorized electronic surveillance, records analysis, and undercover drug buys, New York FBI agents identified associates of Hoo in Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Gary, Indiana. Associates were also identified in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Peru, New Zealand, Nigeria, China, and Iran.
Agents determined that large quantities of heroin were regularly being shipped from Southeast Asia to Vancouver, Canada, then on to Toronto, Canada before being smuggled into the United States. New York FBI agents identified four distinct trafficking organizations directing the operations from Southeast Asia. These organizations were also linked with past heroin seizures in Canada, Australia and in another FBI investigation. The New York investigation was closely coordinated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Hong Kong Police, and the Australian Federal Police and evidence was uncovered showing that several of the leaders of these organizations were members of the 14K Triad criminal enterprise based in Hong Kong.
After a 13-month investigation, in late 1998, federal grand juries in the Eastern and Southern Judicial Districts of New York charged 21 members of the organization with drug trafficking and money laundering. Arrests were made in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Hong Kong and heroin, semi-automatic and automatic weapons, vehicles, and more than $150,000 cash were seized.