Mistress's Alleged Role in Drug Case Outlined

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Michele Wong, a former casino hostess at the Mirage in Las Vegas, seemed to have hit the jackpot in 2004 when she became Zhenli Ye Gon's mistress.

Ye Gon owned a Mexican pharmaceutical company and was a high-rolling gambler, the type for whom casinos dispatch planes. According to government agents, he bought her a $1 million home, had a son with her and gave her jewels and Mercedes-Benzes.

This week, Wong was headed to a D.C. jail on charges that she was an accessory to Ye Gon's alleged crimes. He is accused of helping to make methamphetamine and of laundering Mexican drug money. She is accused of helping him buy equipment for criminal activity and of benefiting from illegal drug profits.

Ye Gon, arrested in Wheaton by federal authorities Monday, was indicted Thursday on charges of aiding a conspiracy to manufacture large quantities of methamphetamine. He allegedly provided chemicals used in secret Mexican drug labs to make methamphetamine for the U.S. market.

He and his attorneys say that he is being set up by Mexico's ruling party and that much of the $207 million seized at his Mexico City mansion in March was part of an illegal presidential slush fund he had been ordered by party officials to hide at his house.

Wong's alleged role is described in affidavits filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration this week in federal court in Nevada.

DEA agent Adam Lambert said Wong told him that she met Ye Gon in October 2004 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where she was working and he was a customer. She became Ye Gon's friend, the DEA said of her account, and they became romantically involved after she was fired a year later.

Wong told the DEA that Ye Gon said he was being blackmailed by a Mexican organized crime group and was under orders to launder drug trafficking proceeds in Las Vegas. In April 2006, Wong said, she bought a $1.1 million home with her mother, using money provided by Ye Gon. Later, the house was put in a trust for their son, Michael Ye Wong.

Lambert said Wong also purchased air-conditioning units and transformers in the United States for Ye Gon's Mexican plants, using money he wired to her, and received a commission on the purchase.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company