Menu Home

Quartet indicted for laundering drug dealing proceeds


Four Indicted in Controlled Substance Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Four individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston in connection with a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and launder the proceeds in Massachusetts and Virginia.

Sathtra Em, 35, of Lowell; Kenneth Owen, a/k/a “Apple,” a/k/a “Carlos,” 22, of Charlotte Court House, Va.; and Michael Mao, a/k/a “Whitebodian,” a/k/a “Spook,” a/k/a “Leno,” 36, an inmate at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Va., were indicted on charges of money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute MDMA and Buprenorphine. Em was also indicted in a separate money laundering conspiracy with Sarath Yut, a/k/a “Black,” a/k/a “Khmao,” a/k/a “Asian Warrior,” 36, of Lowell. 

Em and Owen were arrested on Jan. 19, 2023 and were released on conditions following initial appearances in federal court in Boston and the Western District of Virginia, respectively. Mao is currently serving a prison sentence in Virginia for several state convictions for violent offenses, including attempted murder. Yut was previously charged in June 2021 for his alleged role leading a long-running and lucrative drug trafficking enterprise involving numerous gang members and associates of the Lowell-based criminal street gang, One Family Clique. Yut has remained in federal custody and is pending trial in that case.    

According to the indictment, from approximately December 2019 through May 2021, Mao, Em and Owen conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute MDMA and Buprenorphine in Lowell, the Western District of Virginia and elsewhere. It is alleged that Mao, Em and Owen also conspired to launder the drug proceeds to conceal their drug distribution activity. It is further alleged that Em also conspired to launder drug proceeds with Yut via cash deposits into bank accounts with Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union as well as via mortgage payments for a residence in Lowell.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute MDMA and Buprenorphine provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000, or twice the amount of the property involved, whichever is greater. Both charges also include forfeiture of assets traceable to or involved in the distribution and laundering offenses. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement. The investigation was led by the FBI’s Merrimack Valley Transnational Organized Crime Task Force. Special assistance was provided by the Virginia Department of Corrections.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred M. Wyshak, III of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Amrhein of Rollins’ Asset Recovery Unit is handling the forfeiture aspects of the case.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated January 24, 2023

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release


DOJ Press Release

Categories: Anti-Money Laundering Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Enforcement Actions Indictments and Arrests Narcotics Trafficking


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: