Special to Iredell Free News
CHARLOTTE – A Mooresville resident was one of three individuals sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in methamphetamine trafficking in Catawba County.
Chha Chham, 43, of Mooresville was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release. The other defendants, Kong Sayavong, 40, of Visalia, Calif., and Hannah Olivia Secret, 23, of Morganton were sentenced was sentenced to 10 years and three years in prison, respectively.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell handed down the sentences, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Andrew Murray said in a news release Thursday.
According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from 2018 to September 2019, Chham, Sayavong, and Secrest, were involved in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine in Catawba County and elsewhere.
Court records show that Chham was the leader of the drug conspiracy, and obtained the methamphetamine from a supply source in California. According to court records, co-conspirator David Alexander Moralez Jr., who worked at a shipping company in California as a mail clerk, was responsible for mailing packages containing methamphetamine from California to traffickers on the East Coast, including Chham.
Sayavong and Secrest were Chham’s local drug distributors. Sayavong was also responsible for arranging drug shipments with Moralez, and Secrest frequently picked up the packages shipped by Moralez and collected drug proceeds for Chham.
According to court records, Chham, Sayavong, and Secrest sent drug proceeds back to California via Walmart-to-Walmart transfers and bank deposits, to pay for, among other things, Moralez’s fees and expenses.
Chham, Sayavong and Secrest previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sayavong also pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
These prosecutions were the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation codenamed “Dixie Crystal.” According to court documents, since 2015, more than 200 individuals have been prosecuted and law enforcement has seized far in excess of 120 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $1,000,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and dozens of firearms. OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
The Troutman Police Department and Mooresville Police Department were among the more than one dozen law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation.