A man accused of turning three Colorado Springs properties into marijuana grow houses has been arrested on federal charges including money laundering and drug trafficking.
Douglas Tran, 57, was allegedly part of a Vietnamese drug ring operating in Colorado Springs, Davenport and Dubuque, Iowa, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Selma, Oregon, according to a criminal complaint. Four accomplices also were named in the complaint, including Jennifer Hoang, 25, and Randy Wardrip, 23, of Iowa, and two others whose names were redacted, "because not everyone associated has been arrested," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.
The investigation initially started in 2015.
Authorities were tracking large cash deposits into Hoang's bank account when they noticed Tran frequenting an Asbury, Iowa, home that was under surveillance, the heavily redacted complaint said.
He was found to own three properties in Colorado Springs, in the 6500 block of Silverwind Circle, the 7700 block of Barraport Drive and the 5200 block of Tomah Drive, and one home in Henderson, Nevada, which a tipster accused of being an illegal grow in November.
When police went to the Henderson home they noted condensation on the inside of the windows and discarded potting materials in the yard, but a woman who answered the door refused to let them inside, the complaint said.
Six months later, a property manager reported an illegal grow at one of Tran's Colorado Springs home. Police later found "140 dead potted cannabis plants," inside, the complaint said.
Information about the other two properties was not included in the complaint, but authorities said they suspected Tran was operating grows in all three because of his electricity usage.
A typical home uses about 688 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, the complaint said. Tran's homes were pulling four to 17 that, it said.
"Any consumption of over 3,000 kilowatt hours per month is almost certainly an indoor marijuana grow," the complaint said.
Federal authorities raided Tran's Colorado Springs properties in July.
Tran also was tied to money laundering through an Oregon casino where one person, whose name was redacted, traded out $13,000 worth of $20 bills for $100 bills, the complaint said.
He also is connected to two people, whose names were redacted, who were caught driving 76 pounds of marijuana in Nebraska, the complaint said. When the two called Wardrip for help posting their $10,000 bail, Wardrip promised in a recorded phone conversation, "whoever takes the blame, we'll take care of you," the complaint said.
Tran was previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in 2000, the complaint said. In that case, he was caught crossing into Washington from Canada with 56 pounds of marijuana, it said.
He also was accused of money laundering in 2004, but the charge was later dismissed.
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