News Release
January 5, 2007
Contact: Jeff Eig

Portland Resident Pleads
Guilty to Laundering Marijuana Proceeds
A House, Diamond Ring and Currency are Forfeited

JAN 5 -- PORTLAND, OREGON - Thu Hang Thi “Anna” Nguyen, age 32, of Portland, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to one count of Money Laundering for using the proceeds of marijuana trafficking to purchase a new Mercedes convertible.

Nguyen’s live-in boyfriend at the time, Mark Phommachanh, was convicted of marijuana trafficking as part of a conspiracy to distribute more than l00 kilograms of marijuana and is currently serving a 40-month sentence in federal custody. Nguyen was indicted on one count of conspiracy to launder money and l3 counts of money laundering. The laundering occurred by Phommachanh depositing currency, derived from marijuana sales, into checking and savings accounts belonging to Nguyen and him, to be withdrawn as checks and currency, for their personal use. Between September l0, 2002 and January 24, 2003, $52,000 in currency from marijuana sales was deposited into one such account. Between September l5, 2002 and May l5, 2003, $44,l45 in checks were written by Nguyen from that account to Mercedes Benz of Wilsonville for the purchase of a new Mercedes convertible. Nguyen’s guilty plea to one count of Money Laundering involves writing one of those checks, knowing that those funds were derived from marijuana trafficking by her boyfriend.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Oregon State Police, the Portland Police Bureau, the Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team (VNET) and the Vancouver Police Department joined forces to investigate the case.

Nguyen is scheduled for sentencing on Monday, March l2, 2007, before U.S. District Judge Garr M. King in Portland. The maximum sentence which can be imposed on Nguyen is 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $l,000,000, three years of supervised release, and a $l00 fee assessment. The Plea Agreement between Nguyen and the U.S. Attorney’s Office calls for an agreed sentencing recommendation of l2 months and one day in federal custody. The court is free to impose any sentence up to the maximum penalty. In addition, Nguyen also agreed to forfeit the following assets: real estate property at 8625 NE Weidler Street, Portland, Oregon; a 2.kt diamond ring; and $6,44l in currency. Nguyen also agreed to voluntarily abandon all right to seven weapons, including a rifle, a shotgun and various handguns seized from the residence she shared with Phommachanh.

United States Attorney Karin J. Immergut and the Special Agents in Charge for the regional DEA and IRS-CI offices agree that: “Money laundering assists drug traffickers in the continuation of their illegal actions and allows them to enjoy the fruits of their crimes. Asset forfeiture is an effective tool to hinder money laundering because it deprives the traffickers and launderers of their profits.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Deits, at 503-727-l000. Further information can be requested from Diane Peterson, Public Information Officer, at 503-727-l066.