Tom Nguyen attributes the success of his Beverly Hills-based Alenta Global Alliance (AGA) to "proven business acumen" that provides his customers "access to privileged business portfolios."
"At AGA, we identify high-growth segments of the economy where we can establish a competitive advantage and generate superior returns," Nguyen wrote in an Internet ad for his venture capital company.
But, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, Nguyen masterminded a lucrative double life as a "high-ranking member of an international money laundering and drug trafficking organization" selling large quantities of Ecstasy pills, marijuana and cocaine in Mexico, Canada, California, Arizona and Florida.
DEA agents believed Nguyen suspected law enforcement agents monitored his activities and so he took countermeasures involving telephone message codes, foreign servers and theoretically secure locations for sensitive discussions.
Nguyen's suspicions were right. Though they describe their target as "very technology savvy," agents listened to his every word during phone calls regardless of the phone he used, even hearing him speak in Vietnamese to tell associates not to discuss certain matters.
The cops also had his operation under physical surveillance during drug and money exchanges in Los Angeles hotels, at the Asian Garden Mall, in South Coast Plaza parking garages, at various Southern California gas stations, in a Huntington Beach residence and inside Little Saigon restaurants.
Agents believe Nguyen (a.k.a. Minh Huu Nguyen) created a webpage to make his Alenta Corporation "look legitimate as well as to give co-conspirators the opportunity to communicate through email," according to a DEA report.
The government's extensive monitoring as well as the aid of a prolific confidential informant--an Ecstasy dealer who has been working for the DEA for seven years to avoid prison--resulted in Nguyen's October 2010 arrest and grand jury indictment.
He pleaded guilty in April 2013.
This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney sentenced Nguyen--also listed as managing partner at PNG Holdings--to spend 63 months in prison and forfeit $1,777,783.
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How Carney arrived at the punishment is unknown. Prosecutors successfully sealed huge portions of the case from public view.
But we do know the clock is ticking. Presently free on $200,000 bail, the drug dealer must self-surrender to the U.S. Marshal's office by noon on Nov. 14. When he eventually emerges back into society, he will undergo supervised probation for three years.