By Shereen Siewert
Two more suspects snared in a sting that unraveled a major methamphetamine distribution operation in the Wausau area were sentenced this week, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Choua Xiong, 37, of Wausau and 24-year-old Soua Khang, of Wisconsin Rapids, both pleaded guilty and were sentenced, the result of a long-term investigation of a meth trafficking ring. Sixteen people were charged in connection with the operation.
Xiong was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James Peterson to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
Judge Peterson on Wednesday sentenced Khang to seven years in federal prison on the same charges.
Prosecutors say Lisa Xiong, the leader of the conspiracy, brought pounds of methamphetamine into the Wausau area from the twin cities area.
Police seized nearly five pounds of methamphetamine in connection with the investigation, though agents believe the conspiracy was responsible for well over 10 pounds flowing into the Wausau area.
Lisa Xiong pleaded guilty in September and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Peterson on Dec. 17.
Prosecutors say Khang assisted Lisa Xiong by collecting debts from local methamphetamine distributors and supervising lower level deals. Khang also accompanied Lisa Xiong on trips to Minnesota to pick-up large quantities of methamphetamine and acted as her back-up, police said. Judge Peterson described her as the protégé to the leader of the organization.
Khang was also charged in three counts with distributing methamphetamine.
Police say Khang was responsible for approximately 120 grams of methamphetamine, but she had a much larger role as the right-hand-person to Lisa Xiong.
Khang has a significant criminal history, though this is her first federal conviction. Prosecutors say Chou Xiong conspired with Lisa Xiong by traveling with her to the drug source in Minnesota, pooling money with her to buy large quantities of methamphetamine to supply drug distributors in the Wausau area. Additionally, Chou Xiong was charged with distributing methamphetamine that he purchased from Lisa Xiong on eight occasions.
“Conservatively, his relevant conduct included almost 200 grams of pure methamphetamine,” a U.S. DOJ release states.
This is Chou Xiong’s first federal conviction.
Chou Xiong, Soua Khang and nine other suspects were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in September 2019 for their roles in this methamphetamine distribution conspiracy.
- Chong Chueneng Moua, 52, St. Paul, Minnesota, who is charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, and with possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute;
- Ya Yang, 32, Wausau, who is charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine;
- John Gates, 49, Hewitt, Wisconsin, who is charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, and two counts of attempting to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute;
- Chai Thao, 35, Wausau, who is charged with two counts of distributing methamphetamine, with one count alleged to involve 50 grams or more;
- Sandy Vang, 50, Wausau, who is charged with three counts of distributing methamphetamine, with two counts alleged to involve 5 grams or more;
- Ger Moua, 32, Wausau, who is charged with three counts of distributing methamphetamine, with one count alleged to involve 5 grams or more, and one count alleged to involve 50 grams or more; with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and with being a felon in possession of a firearm;
- Vang C. Yang, 27, St. Paul, Minnesota, who is charged with two counts of distributing methamphetamine;
- Dao Thao, 39, St. Paul, Minnesota, who is charged with possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Chou Xiong and Soua Khang are the second and third suspects to plead guilty and be sentenced. On June 12, 2020, Meng Xiong, also of Wausau, was sentenced by Judge Peterson to five years in prison for his role in the conspiracy.
The charges against these individuals were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force; Marathon County Sheriff’s Office; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; Wausau Police Department; Everest Metro Police Department; and Wisconsin State Patrol. The prosecution of the cases has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Schlipper.