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Press Release

California Man with Lengthy Criminal Record Sentenced to 17 ½ Years in Federal Prison for Iowa Meth and Firearm Convictions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Had girlfriend transport meth on bus from California to distribute in Iowa

A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine and illegally possessed a firearm was sentenced October 18, 2019, in federal court in Sioux City.

Robinson Nguyen, 38, from Selma, California, pled guilty on June 3, 2019, to one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine; one count of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and one count of illegally possessing a firearm.  Nguyen was previously convicted of at least four felony offenses in California, ranging from thefts to possession of a controlled substance to possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.

At the plea hearing, Nguyen admitted that from about September 2017 through July 2018, he was involved in a conspiracy that distributed at least 500 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine.  Evidence showed that Nguyen transported ½ to ¾ pounds of methamphetamine a number of times from California to Colorado then Sioux City, Iowa for distribution and later had his girlfriend transport ¼ pound of methamphetamine by bus.  Nguyen and others in the conspiracy intended to distribute this methamphetamine to another person.  Law enforcement later seized a 9mm pistol from a search of the house were Nguyen resided.  Nguyen admitted he possessed the firearm for protection.    

Sentencing was held before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Nguyen remains in custody of the United States Marshal until he can be transported to a federal prison.  Nguyen was sentenced to 210 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a four year term of supervised release following any imprisonment.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; United States Marshals Service; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and Woodbury County Attorney’s Office.   

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-4089.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated October 22, 2019

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