News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Leader Of violent Seattle Street Gang Sentenced To 25+ Years In Prison For Conspiracy To Manufacture Marijuana

Defendant Convicted in King County Superior Court of Ordering Murder of Gang Associate

February 17, 2012

            QUY DINH NGUYEN, 44, aka, “The Godfather,” “The Boss,” and “The Old Man,” was sentenced today to more than 25 years in prison for his role as the leader of the violent street gang “The Young Seattle Boyz,” announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  NGUYEN pleaded guilty in November 2011, to drug conspiracy charges, in conjunction with murder charges and organized crime charges in King County Superior Court.  In January 2012, King County Superior Court Judge Julie Specter sentenced NGUYEN to 304 months in prison.  Today, as was agreed in the plea agreement, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez imposed the same 304 month federal sentence to run concurrently. 

            “Working together, federal and local law enforcement have taken a very dangerous criminal off the street,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “This case shows how the strong cooperation between our office and the King County Prosecutor’s Office improves public safety,”

For more than a decade, NGUYEN used violence to impose his will on subordinates in his street gang.  The criminal organization laundered millions of dollars made from multiple marijuana grows, drug trafficking and gambling operations.  QUY NGUYEN and his associates were linked to murder, assaults, and shootings.  In 2009, NGUYEN was finally arrested as the leader of a criminal enterprise, and specifically in connection with the 2007 murder of his “right hand man” in the gang, Hoang Van Nguyen.  QUY NGUYEN, the hit man he hired, Jerry Thomas, and the go-between, LE NHU LE all pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court just as the trial was getting underway.  The murder was prompted by a feud within the gang.  The violence was a way of life for NGUYEN.  As prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo, “Quy Nguyen himself has admitted to engaging in a long-term pattern of violence that was designed to maintain the profitability of his marijuana and gambling enterprises.”

“Criminals and criminal organizations use money laundering as a means to infuse their illicit proceeds into our local economy,” said Kenneth J. Hines, IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Office.  “Dirty money was used to purchase homes in Seattle and Tukwila and those homes were turned into illegal factories manufacturing a controlled substance.  Law enforcement will not stand by while our neighborhoods are put at risk.”  

LE NHU LE was also sentenced today for his role in the murder and drug enterprise.  He was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release.  The sentence will run concurrent with LE’s five year sentence in King County Superior Court.  A third defendant Kristine Nguyen was previously convicted and sentenced for conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

The case was investigated by a state and federal task force of law enforcement officers including agents and officers of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Seattle Police Department, and Tukwila Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg, and Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor Roger Davidheiser.

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


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