News and Press Releases

KENT GARDEN SHOP OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO MARIJUANA MANUFACTURING CONSPIRACY AND MONEY LAUNDERING
Defendant Offered Advice and Equipment for Dozens of Marijuana Grows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2008

LE MY NGUYEN a/k/a Le M. Narain, 61, of SeaTac, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana and Money Laundering. LE MY NGUYEN is co-owner of Kent Distributor, Inc., also called Kent Garden Supplies, at 18840 72nd Ave. S., Kent, Washington. The company, LE MY NGUYEN, and eight other people were indicted in April 2007 in connection with their scheme to import supplies and equipment from Canada and purchase them domestically, and then provide them to other conspirators for use in marijuana grows. Those indicted were all members of the family and involved in the scheme as a family business. Some, such as LE MY NGUYEN, are Canadian citizens. Some of those indicted are still fugitives. LE MY NGUYEN is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on April 25, 2008. Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison up to 40 years in prison. Money Laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

In her plea agreement, LE MY NGUYEN admits she provided advice to other conspirators not only about how to grow marijuana, but about how to find suitable houses for grows, how to avoid law enforcement detection, and how to avoid forfeiture of assets by the government if detected. LE MY NGUYEN was recorded by a confidential informant giving that advice in 2006. LE MY NGUYEN admits she loaned out the company van for those setting up grows, and allowed them to dispose of some of the waste from the grows in the company dumpster. LE MY NGUYEN and her husband also operated a marijuana grow at a rental home in Renton. Officers raided the home and found 658 plants in October 2005. According to the plea agreement, LE MY NGUYEN laundered between $1 million and $2.5 million between 2003 and 2007.

During the year-long investigation, officers discovered and seized thousands of marijuana plants at more than 30 indoor marijuana grow operations, primarily located in South King County. Agents seized Kent Garden Supplies’ entire inventory and equipment worth about $500,000. Under the terms of the plea agreement, LE MY NGUYEN forfeits that equipment and inventory as well as more than $198,000 seized from bank accounts controlled by her and the company. She also is forfeiting more than $60,000 in cash seized at her home and business.

Four other defendants have already pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing: Dennis Narain, 58, SeaTac, Washington, will be sentenced March 28, 2008; Dinh T. Nguyen, 33, Renton, Washington, will be sentenced on April 11, 2008; Thu Anh “Diana” Tran, 32, Renton, Washington and James Nguyen, 46, Renton, Washington, will be sentenced March 14, 2008.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Richard E. Cohen. The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team (VNET) and detectives from the cities of Kent, Auburn, and Renton. The United States Marshal’s Service also assisted.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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