The 24-year-old sister of one of the suspects accused of starting the 2020 fire that killed five members of a Senegalese family pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug and gun charges — crimes uncovered during the investigation into the deadly arson.
Tanya Bui, the older sister of 17-year-old Kevin Bui, pleaded guilty in the US District Court of Colorado to possessing a gun in furtherance of drug trafficking and to possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute the drug.
“Guilty,” she said in a nearly empty courtroom in Denver.
Tanya Bui’s brother is one of three teenagers accused of setting fire to a house in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood of Denver in August 2020. Tanya Bui has not been charged in connection with the fire, but she frequently dealt drugs with her brother in the months leading up to the blaze, and may have helped her brother cover up the crime, prosecutors have said.
Kevin Bui told authorities that he and two friends set the Green Valley Ranch house on fire because they mistakenly believed Kevin’s stolen cell phone was inside the property. The trio later realized they had targeted the wrong house. Those killed were: 29-year-old Djibril Diol, 23-year-old Adja Diol, their 2-year-old daughter Khadija, 25-year-old Hassan Diol and her 6-month-old daughter, Hawa Baye.
Tanya Bui was investigating for drug dealing after detectives connected a cell phone registered to her to the scene of the arson. She faces up to 20 years in prison on the two charges she pleaded guilty to, but as part of the plea bargain, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend she face a lower prison sentence.
She is likely to face a five-year prison sentence on the gun charge and between three and six years in prison on the drug charge. Both are felonies. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10.
The murder cases against the three teenagers are still going through the court process.