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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Muessig
Sonny and Nga Tran are spouses and owner-operators of Sonny’s Express Grocery and Smoke for Lesss. Ms. Meussig operated Sonny’s Express Grocery during the period in question. Both stores were part of an undercover operation looking into illegal sales of pseudoephedrine, which is legal to purchase but in large amounts can be used to manufacture methamphetamine.
On June 29, 2000 Detective Mark Wenthold went into Sonny’s and asked to buy a large amount of pseudoephedrine. Sonny said he could only sell 6 bottles at a time, but the detective could come back in immediately after to purchase more in those 6-bottle increments. Detective Wenthold even mentioned that he was going to make methamphetamine with the pills, and Sonny Tran still sold him hundreds of dollars of pills.
On June 30, 2000 Detective Wenthold returned to Sonny’s where Sonny’s wife Nga was working. He did the same thing with purchase bottles, leaving, and immediately coming back in to purchase more, except Nga allowed him to purchase 8 bottles at a time. He bought 24 bottles of pills for $672 in cash. Detective also asked Nga if she wanted to have any of the “stuff” he was using the pills to make, noting it could help her work on her feet and stay awake for days. She declined.
On April 6, 2001, Detective Wenthold went to Sonny’s again when Ms. Muessig was working. She was reluctant to sell him that much pseudoephedrine, but the detective asked her to call Nga who had sold them to him previously. Nga offered for the Officer to go to their other store, Smoke for Less, to purchase the pills there. Ms. Muessig eventually was talking into selling the pills by the detective and Nga, and he bought 24 boxes of pseudoephedrine for $250 in cash.
On April 13, 2001, Detective Wenthold went to Smoke for Less. Nga said she had recognized him and sold him 24 boxes of pills for $260. She also said that he scared people and that Ms. Muessig thought he was an FBI agent. On April 19, 2001, Detective Wenthold bought 24 boxes of pseudoephedrine from Ms. Muessig for $300, and the same day bought 16 bottles from Sonny Tran at Smoke for Less for $400. He told Sonny that he liked the bottles better because it was easier to get the pills out than popping them out individually. The Detective also discussed the process of cooking methamphetamine before his purchase from Sonny.
On May 21, 2001 Detective Wenthold visited Smoke for Less again. Nga was working, and he asked specifically for the bottles because it was easier to get the pills out of those. Nga told the detective that he scared people and he seemed like undercover FBI, but still sold him 25 bottles for $700.
Finally, on September 27, 2001 Detective Wenthold bought 48 bottles of pseudoephedrine from Nga Tran at Smoke for Less for $1,200, again stating before how he liked the bottles over the packets. The government then indicted Nga Tran, Sonny Tran, and Muessig for distributing a precursor drug that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance.
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