Burien woman sentenced to five years in prison for role in drug and money laundering conspiracies

Convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and wire fraud

Press release:

A Burien woman was sentenced Thursday, Dec. 6 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, to five years in prison and five years of supervised release for four felony counts connected to the laundering of illegal proceeds from the drug distribution conspiracy she participated in with her husband, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

SVETLANA ANGEL YIM, 30, was convicted in April 2012, following a five-week jury trial. The jury found her responsible for being part of a conspiracy that trafficked cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds.

YIM’s husband, Drew Yim, 38, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in May 2012 for leading the drug conspiracy that distributed a variety of illegal drugs from Mexico to Canada and east across the United States. SVETLANA YIM handled money laundering in the conspiracy, purchasing property and cars in the names of other people, as well as expensive jewelry and other luxuries. Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman imposed the sentence.

According to records in the case and testimony at trial, the YIM home above Puget Sound was the epicenter of the drug trafficking conspiracy. SVETLANA YIM did everything she could to hide the illegal source of the money rolling in from drug sales. She attempted to funnel the cash through 17 different bank accounts; she purchased a diamond ring for $35,000; on one day she purchased 22 different money orders at three different Safeway stores to avoid reporting laws on cash transactions over $10,000.

YIM invested in properties held in other people’s names, and over eight years purchased seven new cars. But the “aura of wealth was built on the stench of drug dealing,” prosecutors said in their closing argument.

The drug dealing detailed in Drew Yim’s plea agreement is extensive. Using as many as 18 cell phones at one time, he directed the shipment of cocaine and methamphetamine from California into Washington and across the border into Canada.

Drew Yim also directed the importation and distribution of MDMA (ecstasy) and BC Bud from Canada into Western Washington and then to other destinations across the U.S. For example, in June of 2010, Drew Yim arranged for a 19 kilo load of cocaine to be transported to Canada. In March and May 2011, Drew Yim arranged two more cocaine loads totaling 36 kilos to be transported into Canada. Canadian authorities seized some of the cocaine. Over five months in 2010, Drew Yim arranged for more than 700 pounds of marijuana to be transported into the U.S. in six different loads.

Drew Yim was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Yims also are forfeiting $1.4 million in cash that was seized during the course of the investigation, and six vehicles, a boat, 14 pieces of real property – including ten properties in the Spokane area, as well as property in Burien, Bothell, Enumclaw, and Renton, and four Rolex watches. All of the items seized were purchased with proceeds of the drug conspiracy.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.

The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Seattle Police Department with assistance from the U.S. Marshal Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger Rogoff, Jerrod Patterson, and Richard Cohen.

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