HOUSTON, TX – Thomas E. Hinojosa, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today that three individuals were arrested on Thursday following the execution of search warrants at several locations and the discovery of grow operations of hydroponic marijuana. James Dinh Nguyen, 36, from Richmond, Texas, and Phuong Thien Nguyen aka John, 31, and Chung Van Nguyen, 29, both of Houston were taken into custody. A warrant remains outstanding for Truong Van Nguyen, 36, of Houston. Anyone having information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact the DEA at 713-693-3000.
The criminal complaint filed charges the defendants with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance involving more than 100 marijuana plants. The complaint alleges that a warehouse on the 9900 block of Tanner Road in Houston and a house located on the 17500 block of Stamford Oaks Drive in Tomball, Texas, were utilized for the purpose of growing marijuana. The search of the location on Tanner Road resulted in the seizure of approximately 171 marijuana plants and 50 pounds of harvested marijuana. The search at Stamford Oaks Drive resulted in the recovery of approximately 270 marijuana plants. In addition, several thousand dollars in U.S. currency and various firearms were found at a house in the 19800 block of Beecham Lake Lane, in Richmond, Texas.
Those arrested are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy for their initial appearance on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. At that time, the court will determine whether the defendants will be released on bond or remain in custody pending preliminary and detention hearings at the request of the United States.
If convicted of the conspiracy offense, the defendants each face a mandatory minimum punishment of five years to a maximum of 40 years without parole and a $5 million fine.
The charges are the result of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including the DEA, sheriff’s offices in Fort Bend and Harris Counties, the Katy and Houston Police Departments and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney Jesse Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.