Government moves to seize, sell off house for role in international drug ring

The federal government has started procedings to take control of a Dorchester house it says two brothers built to become the center of a family drug ring that was broken up with a series of arrests in 2007.

The government says it will sell off 59 Bloomfield St., currently assessed at $503,000, to help recoup some of the roughly $3 million in drug and money-laundering profits made by Anna Trinh and Tiem Trinh, both convicted in federal court on Dec. 23, 2009 on a variety of drug charges. The government says it has the right to seize the house because of its extensive use in the Trinh's drug operations, in fact, was built largely with the proceeds of that ring.

The government has already started procedings to sell off the Trinhs' other belongings, including three Mercedes and a Rolex watch. In an affidavit filed in US District Court last week as part of the federal request to foreclose on and sell of the house, Boston Police Det. Robert Fratalia outlined the history of the two-family, eight-bedroom structure that the Trinh's sons, Quoc and Tai Trinh, built in 2001.

The younger Trinhs spared little expense in building the house, larger than the surrounding homes, spending $200,000 just on fancy wood floors and woodwork, Fratalia wrote, adding the money came from the family drug business that goes back even farther. Tai Trinh, the older of the two brothers, "had made valuable drug-trafficking contacts while serving time in federal prison on heroin and firearms charges, and that, on his release from prison, Tai Trinh had used those connections to establish sources of supply for Canadian marijuana for distribution under the management of Quoc Trinh."

But the brothers did find a way to save some money on construction: They paid Quoc Trinh's "right-hand man" Daniel DaCosta - who later became an informant - in both cash and marijuana, Fratalia wrote.

Between 2002 and 2005, according to DaCosta, the brothers were making as much as $20,000 a week, from the "thousands of pounds of marijuana [that] were delivered to, stored at, and distributed" from both the house and other nearby Dorchester locations. So much money was flowing into the house from pot and Ecstasy sales that Quoc Trinh kept a money-counting machine on the third floor - and had five separate phones to arrange purchases and sale.

In 2004, Fratalia wrote, the Trinhs secured a home-equity loan on the house, which they combined with drug proceeds to buy two properties in Buffalo, NY in which to grow marijuana. But even as they began growing pot in New York, the Trinhs expanded their own pot-growing effords on Bloomfield Street, putting in "large marijuana plants" in their basement and back yard - and growing them with a special fertilizer they created themselves, Fratalia wrote:

[T]the family cultivated a pile of potting soil, enriched with rotting fish parts which caused the pile to have a strong and unpleasant odor, in the back yard of the [house]. [The informant] and members of the Trinh family periodically packed that enriched soil into containers so that the Trinhs could take them to the Buffalo property for use in the marijuana grow.

The pile, which they covered with a blue tarp, was also infested with maggots, Fratalia wrote.

Fratalia wrote the brothers mixed business with pleasure at the house:

[Quoc Trinh] ran the marijuana business at and from the [house]. He often met with co-conspirators in the finished basement of the [house], which contained a large kitchen, dining room and recreation area. He also smoked marijuana there with DaCosta and others on many occasions.

On Sept. 2, 2005, a murder at the house was narrowly averted, Fratalia wrote: The younger Trinhs paid a local $5,000 to kill a man who'd punched Tai Trinh during a dispute over a pot shipment Tai Trinh had allegedly stolen from a Canadian dealer. The police's informant notifed police, who arrrested Warren as he waited nearby with "a long-bladed bow-style knife" for the man. Quoc Trinh's anger never abated - two years later he was heard considering hiring DaCosta to kill or paralyze the man, Fratalia wrote.

The investigation into the Trinhs began in earnest in February, 2005, when Boston Police arrested Daniel DaCosta on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, based on a stash of marijuana found in DaCosta's Fessenden Street apartment. DaCosta told investigators the stash actually belonged to Quoc Trinh and agreed to become an informant, Fratalia wrote:

From about June 2005, when DaCosta was released from detention, until about February 2, 2007, when Quoc Trinh and several other co-conspirators were arrested, DaCosta ostensibly resumed and continued his position as Quoc Trinh's right-hand man in Trinh's
drug business, while providing regular reports, often in "real time," to law enforcement about the marijuana and MDMA trafficking and related criminal activities of Quoc Trinh, other members of the Trinh family, and other conspirators.

The business came to an end on Feb. 2, 2007, when federal officials announced indictments against 23 people.

Quoc Trinh pleaded guilty to marijuana conspiracy charges last fall and will appear in court on April 1 to plead guilty to MDMA charges - he's expected to be sent away for ten years. Tai Trinh, who had earlier heroin-related convictions, agreed to a 20-year sentence last fall. Anna Trinh and Tiem Trinh were both found guilty of a variety of charges on Dec. 31.