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Drug lord orchestrated revenge murder By MARTHA KANG KOMO-TV STAFF
Three men have been charged in the murder of a Tukwila man who had witnessed a prior shooting.
Quy D. Nguyen, 42, of Seattle; Jerry H. Thomas, III, 23, of Algona; and Le Nhu Le, 41, of Kent face multiple charges in the January 2007 death of Hoang Nguyen.
Hoang Nguyen was shot outside his apartment complex in Tukwila in what investigators believe was a murder plot orchestrated by Quy Nguyen, the alleged leader of the Young Seattle Boyz street gang.
Investigators said a gunman approached Hoang Nguyen and his wife as they were getting out of their car. The gunman asked Hoang Nguyen to put the coffee cup he was holding on the floor and as he did so, the gunman shot him in the back of the head, the victim's wife told detectives.
According to the statement of probable cause, the victim had been a witness in double shooting in Seattle in July 2006. Quy Nguyen's brother, Diem Nguyen, has been convicted in the shooting and sentenced to nearly 40 years.
Hoang Nguyen's wife said he had been very upset by the shooting, in which his best friend was one of the victims. She said her husband was responsible for tipping off police to the location of one of Quy Nguyen's marijuana grows "to get back at Quy for the shooting," the document said. Investigators said Quy Nguyen hired people to run homes where he grew marijuana.
The woman said her husband "bragged to others that he had turned in Quy's grow house," according to the statement. She added her husband was seen speaking with prosecutors in court during Diem Nguyen's trial in December 2006.
Just days after Hoang Nguyen's appearance in court, a gunman attempted to kill him at a café, investigators said.
The document states a gunman walked up to the victim at the Lu Quan Cafe (also known as the Mini Skirt Cafe) with a handgun, aimed and fired, but the gun malfunctioned.
After the incident, Hoang Nguyen's wife said she heard on the street that Quy Nguyen had hired someone to kill her husband.
Investigators, working with witnesses and a police informant, determined the alleged gang leader had instructed Le Nhu Le, "one of Quy's most trusted associates in his marijuana grow business," to hire his co-worker to kill Hoang Nguyen, according to the document.
Detectives said they learned Quy Nguyen was "angry at Hoang (Nguyen) for 'having a big mouth,'" but that the victim had been lucky and "he would let him enjoy the New Year before making another attempt on his life," the statement said.
Le admitted to the police informant that Quy Nguyen "had asked him to pay somebody to kill Hoang (Nguyen)," and that he needed help finding out where the man lived in order to carry out the next attempt, prosecutors said.
Based on witness descriptions and cell phone records, police pinned Jerry H. Thomas, III as the co-worker Le hired to murder Hoang. Records also showed communication between Quy Nguyen and Le spiked dramatically in the month leading up to Hoang Nguyen's death.
Police arrested Quy Nguyen and Le in March 2009 on federal drug charges based on their involvement in Quy Nguyen's marijuana grow and distribution in the area. Thomas was arrested later.
All three have been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit violation of the uniform controlled substances act.
Prosecutors have requested bail of $3 million for each of the three men. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 21.