Southern California Marijuana Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hung C. Nguyen, 40, of Moorpark, pleaded guilty today to manufacturing marijuana as part of a larger conspiracy to distribute marijuana throughout California, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Nguyen conducted a marijuana cultivation business with Nathan Hoffman, a Los Angeles attorney with offices on Wilshire Boulevard, and others using marijuana grown in Sutter County and Sacramento. Nguyen operated two Southern California marijuana stores, the Canna Clinic of Garden Grove and the South Bay Canna Clinic in Torrance. Nguyen was a distributor for the marijuana produced in Northern California. According to the plea agreement, one of Nguyen’s dispensary’s could sell more than $10,000 of marijuana in a single busy day.
This case is part of investigations into industrial-scale marijuana cultivation conspiracies operating within the Eastern District of California. A total of 12 defendants were indicted for crimes relating to their marijuana cultivation in this case and in two related cases (United States v. Yan Ebyam et al. 2:11-cr-275-JAM and 2:11-cr-276-JAM). All defendants except for Hoffman have pleaded guilty to participation in the conspiracies, and most have been sentenced to prison. Hoffman is scheduled for trial on January 23, 2017. The charges against Hoffman are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to court documents, on June 21, 2011, federal and state agents executed seven federal search warrants in Sacramento, Sutter, and Tehama Counties. Two of these warrants were executed at the sites of large, commercial greenhouses located at the Jopson Ranch in Rio Oso and at the Cal-Nevada Wholesale Florist in Sacramento. Law enforcement officers seized over 5,000 marijuana plants in all stages of growth from these two locations: approximately 2,168 plants at Jopson Ranch and approximately 3,305 plants at Cal-Nevada Florist. Two leaders arrested at the grow sites, Yan Ebyam and Aimee Sisco admitted their involvement in the marijuana cultivation business.
Sentencing for Nguyen is set for April 18, 2017, by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez. Nguyen faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
These three cases are the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. It was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Hitt, Todd A. Pickles, and Samuel Wong are prosecuting the cases.