A Minneapolis woman was reportedly released from custody after appearing in court on charges she allegedly helped launder money and run an illegal marijuana farm operation for the convicted “mastermind” behind the 2019 New Year’s Eve kidnapping and murder of a local real estate agent.
Phouvanh Keokaythinh, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this week for allegedly running a drug money laundering conspiracy on behalf of large-scale fentanyl and marijuana dealer Lyndon Swarn, who is also reportedly known as Lyndon Wiggins or as his rapper stage name, “Black Bag L.A.”
Swarn/Wiggins is currently serving a 19-year federal prison sentence after being convicted in March 2021 for possession with intent to distribute more than 33,000 fentanyl-laced Oxycodone pills.
In June, he was also sentenced to life in state prison after being convicted in Hennepin County of aiding and abetting first-degree murder in relation to the New Year’s Eve 2019 kidnapping and killing of Monique Baugh, a 28-year-old local real estate agent.
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Prosecutors described Swarn/Wiggins as the “mastermind” behind the killing after Baugh was lured to a home, kidnapped by two men in a U-Haul truck and tortured and later murdered for information regarding the whereabouts of her boyfriend, Jon Mitchell-Momoh, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Mitchell-Momoh reportedly survived a shooting at his home that same night and later testified that Swarn/Wiggins accused him of stealing music.
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew M. Luger announced on Thursday that Keokaythinh has been indicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy, one count of concealment money laundering, and one count of false statements in an application for a passport in connection to her work for Swarn/Wiggins.
She made her initial court appearance before Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung on Monday and was released from custody afterward, according to the Tribune. She has since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“Ms. Keokaythinh is a hard-working immigrant who works two full-time jobs,” her attorney, Kevin O’Brien, said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Tribune. “Like all of us she enjoys the presumption of innocence and this morning pleaded not guilty to the allegations.”
Between December 2018 and August 2019, Keokaythinh is accused of knowingly conspiring with others to conduct financial transactions that involved the proceeds of fentanyl and marijuana trafficking.
As part of the conspiracy, Keokaythinh kept large amounts of cash drug proceeds for Swarn/Wiggins, a large-scale fentanyl and marijuana dealer, at her family residence in Bloomington, according to court documents. At any given time, Keokaythinh stashed up to $80,000 at the residence, prosecutors say.
Swarn/Wiggins’ drug income was allegedly generated from the production and sale of illegal fentanyl-laced Oxycodone pills, as well as the production and sale of large amounts of marijuana.
According to court documents, Keokaythinh used cash from Swarn/Wiggins’ drug proceeds to purchase a farm property in Ironwood, Michigan. Swarn/Wiggins and his associates used this property to illegally grow large amounts of marijuana. Prosecutors say Keokaythinh and others laundered drug proceeds into a bank account owned by L&S Management LLC, a shell company used for the purchase, maintenance, and upkeep of the property.
Keokaythinh is also accused of directing others to maintain a credit card that was used for Swarn/Wiggins’ personal spending and other expenses related to the drug trafficking conspiracy.
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Between January 2017 and March 2019, Keokaythinh and others used drug proceeds to make approximately $117,782.72 in payments on the credit card, prosecutors say.
On January 31, 2020, Keokaythinh willfully and knowingly made false statements in an application for a passport, according to court documents. In the application, she falsely claimed that she had lost her passport while on a trip to Los Angeles when, in reality, she knew that her passport had been seized by law enforcement on October 23, 2019, during the execution of a search warrant at the farm.