News Release
October 11, 2007
Contact: Rhett Fonseca
Number: 206-553-1251

Guilty Plea Of Couple Involved In Garden Shop Marijuana Conspiracy

OCT 11 -- (Seattle, WA) – DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin and United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeff Sullivan, announced that Thu Anh “Diana” Tran and her husband, James Nguyen residents of Seattle, Washington plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to federal charges. Nguyen pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana and Tran pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Structure Currency Transactions. The couple was indicted with eight others co-defendants as part of a marijuana growing and money laundering conspiracy.

The alleged hub of the conspiracy was Kent Distributor, Inc., also called Kent Garden Supplies, at 18840 72nd Ave. S., Kent, Washington. The Indictment alleges that the company imported supplies and equipment from Canada and in turn provided those supplies and equipment to other conspirators for use in marijuana grows. The store’s owners and employees provided advice not only about how to grow marijuana, but about how to find suitable houses for grows, how to avoid law enforcement detection, and how to avoid forfeiture of assets by the government if detected. Some conspirators were allowed to get supplies and equipment on credit and pay back the debt with profit from their marijuana crop.

Specifically in his plea agreement, Nguyen admits that he and his wife owned ten residential properties, many of which they leased to co-conspirators who used them for marijuana grows. The grow equipment was supplied by Kent Distributor, which was owned and operated by Trans’s family members. In 2005 and early 2006, agents seized almost 4,000 marijuana plants from six of the homes owned by the couple. Nguyen and his wife collected cash rental payments from the growers, which totaled several hundred thousand dollars in 2005 alone. In her plea agreement today, Tran admitted that she made multiple cash deposits to bank accounts in a way intended to avoid currency reporting requirements. On just three days in 2005, Tran structured deposits of some $36,500 in cash in order to avoid currency reporting requirement. Under the terms of the plea agreements, the couple has agreed to forfeit one of their properties to the Federal government. The others properties are pending forfeiture in State Court proceedings.

James Nguyen and Thu Anh “Diana” Tran are scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on January 11, 2008. This investigation was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.