La. ecstasy bust includes $230,000 in cash, 50,000 tablets

By Bob Ussery, Staff writer

Copyright 2006 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company 

Federal and local authorities seized more than 50,000 tablets of the drug Ecstasy, $230,000 in cash, a luxury vehicle and an 18-wheeler, following two separate drug busts that led to the arrest of four men late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

The arrests were made by the FBI New Orleans Gang Task Force, made up of members of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, State Police, the New Orleans Police Department, and the Sheriff's Offices of Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines parishes.

"Once we received our intelligence, we set up an operational plan to monitor the criminal activity, and at the appropriate time, take law enforcement action," said Jim Bernazzani, special agent in charge for the New Orleans division of FBI.

According to authorities, information shared within the task force led to an investigation that indicated on Friday the driver of an 18-wheeler would deliver 100 pounds of marijuana off Chef Highway at Interstate 510. The driver would be met by people who would give him $230,000, police said.

The truck's driver, Prit P. Dhillon, 53, of Branpton in Ontario, Canada, was arrested around 10:40 p.m. The truck was impounded and $230,000 was recovered, authorities said.

Additional surveillance resulted in the arrest of Tuan Quoc Nguyen, 35, of New Orleans and David Nguyen, 45, no relation, of Jersey City, N.J., who are believed to have met Dhillon.

The men were arrested about 11 p.m. at 536A Terry Parkway in Terrytown, in Jefferson Parish, where authorities say they seized two large suitcases with more than 50,000 ecstasy tablets and about 100 pounds of marijuana. A late model Lexus automobile was also seized.

As a result of the same investigation, authorities later arrested a fourth man, Rajbir S. Grewal, 22, of Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. Authorities say Grewal was stopped Saturday about 3:45 a.m. at Exit 5 from northbound Interstate 59 outside Pearl River with more than 250 pounds of marijuana in a rental truck, the FBI said. 
February 5, 2006

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