FARGO – United States Attorney Mac Schneider, District of North Dakota, announced that Marie Um, 42, from Montreal, Québec Canada, appeared before Chief Judge Peter D. Welte, U.S. District Court, Fargo, ND, and was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison, $11,048.43 in restitution, and $300 special assessment for the charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death; conspiracy to import controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death; and international money laundering conspiracy.
On April 11, 2023, the trial of Marie Umcommenced, in Fargo, North Dakota. Marie Um was part of an organization that was receiving fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China and importing them into the United States. After 2 weeks of trial and 3 ½ days of deliberation, the jury found Marie Um guilty of conspiracy to distribute and import controlled substances into the United States and money laundering conspiracy. The jury found that 9 overdoses (4 deaths and 5 serious bodily injuries) were reasonably foreseeable to her. The overdoses were in North Dakota, Oregon, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
This case is part of “Operation Denial,” an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into the international trafficking of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and was significantly aided by the national and international coordination led by the multi-agency Special Operations Division (S.O.D.) near Washington, DC, as part of “Operation Deadly Merchant.” The investigation started in North Dakota, on January 3, 2015, with the overdose death in Grand Forks, ND, of Bailey Henke.
Operation Denial has led to thirty-one (31) defendants charged in North Dakota and three (3) defendants charged in Oregon. The investigation has resulted in nearly $1 million in cash and property forfeited from members of the organization.
In 2021, Um was extradited from Canada to the United States with substantial assistance from the Office of International Affairs, a component of the Department of Justice.
On August 31, 2021, the U.S. Department of State offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of People’s Republic of China (PRC) national Jian Zhang, a fugitive in this transnational investigation.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations; North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Internal Revenue Service – CID; Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Portland Oregon Police Bureau – Drugs and Vice Division; Portland HIDTA Interdiction Task Force; Oregon State Police; and Grand Forks Police Department.
The prosecutor for this case was Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers, District of North Dakota.
Source: Department of Justice