Vo Duong Tran was an American success story who escaped Communist Vietnam as a kid and grew up to be an FBI agent. Problem was, he was crooked. Reporter Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of an FBI agent gone bad. Tran was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for planning a home invasion of a drug stash house in California in what ended up being an FBI sting.
CHICAGO — Vo Duong Tran spent his 11th birthday in November 1978 on a cold, rainy Malaysian beach after he and his family made a treacherous voyage during monsoon season across the South China Sea to escape Communist Vietnam.
The old boat they rode in almost capsized a few times, then Tran and his family completed the journey by having to make a dangerous swim to shore.
After such a perilous trip, Tran’s family forgot all about his birthday, as an uncertain future in a refugee camp loomed before them.
But their luck soon turned. A Catholic church in Connecticut brought them to America, where for years Tran would make his family proud.
Once hobbled by asthma as a boy, Tran turned himself into a hulking man, bulging with muscles.
Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Tran went on to fight crime and join the FBI, where he investigated traditional and Asian organized crime in Chicago.
In his new homeland, Tran would use the first name Ben, and Ben Tran was an American success story.
At least on the surface.
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