US sentences Vietnamese pregnant beauty queen to three years for pot

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Mrs Vietnam Global 2012 Tristine Tram Bui in a recent fashion photo shoot. The beauty queen was sentenced to three years in prison for growing and trading marijunana. 

Tristine Tram Bui, a celebrated member of the Vietnamese community in the US, was sentenced to three years in prison for growing and trading marijuana by a Washington court on June 20.

Since the beauty queen is pregnant, her imprisonment will be delayed until next February, one month after her due date.

For growing and selling marijuana, federal prosecutors asked that Bui serve nearly four years in prison – a lenient term by federal standards, news site Seattlepi said. US District Judge John Coughenour stopped just short of that recommendation, sentencing Bui to three years in prison, it added.

Mrs Vietnam Global 2012 and her husband Keith Ly were prosecuted in July 2012. Their clandestine operation began in 2011.

Keith Ly, another Viet Kieu, will stand trial by the end of this year.

US police began investigating the couple after 0.5 kilos of weed and US$ 9,000 were found in the beauty’s Mercedes in February 2012. Tram and her spouse failed to convince the police that the drug was being used for health care purposes.

Three months later, police seized 700 cannabis plants from a home registered to the couple after the building caught fire.

Authorities then found two other grow houses registered to the couple and seized a total of 1,189 cannabis plants and more than 13 kilos of drug from the couples' home.


Tristine Bui settled in the US after marrying an American, according to her profile released at the court. Soon after reaching the US, she divorced her husband and married Ly.

She has made her living working in casinos, modeling and participating in beauty pageants, as well as by selling large amounts of marijuana, Seattlepi said.

 

Bui won the highest prize of the Mrs Vietnam Global competition held in 2012 in California.

The beauty pageant is held annually and open to married Vietnamese women from all over the world.

As a deportable person, Bui won’t be eligible for early release or preferable prison programs available to US citizens serving time, including the Bureau of Prison’s Mother and Infants Together program, which would have allowed her to spend time with her child in a non-prison setting, Seattlepi said.

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