Phong Huu Nguyen, Navy Petty Officer Behind Anthrax Scare, Has Charges Quietly Dropped

I'd nearly forgotten having blogged on the July 2009 arrest of Phong Huu Nguyen, who was charged with making criminal threats after a Newport Beach apartment he was evicted from was discovered to have threatening messages painted on the walls and powder-filled jars left behind labeled "anthrax."

The U.S. Navy petty officer pleaded guilty to the charges against him in April. . . and now those charges have been dropped.

A Hazmat team, the Newport Beach Fire Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad responded to the July 21, 2009, incident at the Coronado Apartments in the 1800 block of Sherington Place. Neighborhoods surrounding the complex near Newport Harbor High School were also evacuated.

The numbers "666" were splashed across the walls. The jars had a white, powdery substance inside. However, after examining the contents, the responders determined they contained nothing more than corn starch.

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Nguyen, then a 29-year-old administrative assistant in a military recruitment office, was arrested late that same night in Los Angeles.

He pleaded no contest to the charges against him in April and was ordered to pay $4,400 to authorities who responded to the anthrax scare and nearly $1,000 to the owner of the apartment complex.

The Navy man also had to stay out of the local crime blotters through his final hearing this past Tuesday.

Having complied with the court orders, the charges against Nguyen were quietly dropped.

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