FBI: Vietnamese American From Orange County Wanted To Aid al-Qaeda Terrorists

SinhNguyen.jpg
The Vietnamese American's Facebook page using a fake Muslim name
Shackled with three unrelated, new criminal defendants, Little Saigon's 24-year-old Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen stood this afternoon in front of a U.S. magistrate judge and firmly declared himself "not guilty" of federal charges that he lied on a passport application and sought to provide support to anti-American, al-Qaeda terrorists.

Nguyen--arrested early this morning by undercover FBI agents assigned to a Joint Terrorism Task Force as he reportedly attempted to board a Santa Ana bus en route to Mexico--faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if Assistant United States Attorney Judith Heinz ultimately wins her case.

A federal indictment against Nguyen is light on specifics, but veteran reporter Andrew Blankstein of NBC News reported the defendant traveled to Syria last year to fight for rebels against the oppressive Assad regime.

Blankstein, one of the nation's best investigative journalists, is also reporting that sources told him Nguyen returned to Orange County from the Middle East, planned to fake his death, applied for a U.S. passport under a fake name (Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum), and made efforts to join al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, but ran out of luck.

A person Nguyen contacted to aid him was an undercover federal agent, Blankstein reports.

Nguyen, a resident of Garden Grove born in the U.S. of parents who emigrated from Vietnam and a licensed security guard, appeared mostly expressionless in U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato's Santa Ana courtroom.

Though a Vietnamese American, Nguyen's physical appearance--goatee, mustache, long black hair with wire-rim glasses--could allow him to pass as a native on any Middle Eastern street.

He wore blue jeans and a blue, short-sleeved short and seemed relatively calm while he questioned his public defender in the courtroom that contained 13 observing federal law-enforcement agents.

Nakazato approved of the government's request to detain the terrorism suspect in the custody of U.S. marshals without bail and ordered an Oct. 18 scheduling hearing with U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter in Los Angeles.

Because Nguyen claimed poverty, the judge assigned him a taxpayer-funded defense lawyer.

Heinz told Nakazato she expects a trial will last three to eight days.

The defendant's mother, father, brother and sister--a teenager who entered the courtroom holding an unopened, large bag of potato chips--attended the hearing.

"It [her son's arrest] surprised me," a visibly worried Hieu Nguyen said before the hearing. "I don't know what's going on. It's all a surprise."

According to the defendant's brother, the suspect converted to Islam "about a year ago," but he claims he doesn't know why.

"He's been a better person [since becoming a Muslim]," said the brother, who declined to give his name.

In the wake of overly aggressive, late-arriving, interrupting questions from high-strung Associated Press and Los Angeles Times reporters who apparently have yet to discover elementary journalistic courtesy, the defendant's public defender heard the commotion, walked over and tersely advised the family to not answer any additional media questions.

(Nice job, my callous, self-important, mainstream brethren.)

Heinz, the prosecutor, looked like a confused, law school freshman Elle Woods at the outset of Legally Blonde when asked simple, procedural questions by the gathered print, TV and radio reporters after the hearing.

She ignored the questions, wore a terrified, deer-in-the-headlight facial expression, and darted onto an elevator inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse to flee.

Nguyen is being held inside the Santa Ana Jail.

Although agents say they believe Nguyen acted alone, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller described the case as "an ongoing investigation."

In a report by KTLA-TV's Orange County reporter Chip Yost, a neighbor of the Nguyen family said she considers them all normal, decent people.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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11 comments
dragon
dragon

Shame on you!  The community collectively turn our backs to you.  May you die alone in dishonor.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

Here's a big OC corruption story for Moxley to investigate:

-----------------

The Orange County, Calif. District Attorney’s Office this week raided the offices of Landmark Medical Management, whose president and CEO, Kareem Ahmed, was one of the largest individual financial backers of President Obama’s 2012 re-election effort.

Officials with the district attorney’s office on Tuesday morning executed a search warrant at Landmark’s office in Ontario, Calif., according to a source who works at Landmark and was present during the raid. The exact nature of the district attorney’s investigation is unclear.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

FBI = Fumbling Bumbling Idiots - Thier own Government is aiding and abetting the enemy from overseas for the drug trade in Afghanistan. It's why we invaded but why the Russians left back in 1989 because there's nothing there. Our banks are being funded off the profits of the drug trades and that's why so many new bank buildings are being built.

Does anyone remember WACO and FAST AND FURIUOS?

Jimmy James
Jimmy James

I wonder why we haven't arrested Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of supporting al Qaeda in Syria...hmmm

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Federal indictment light on specifics you say. Hmmmm ...

Hopefully we don't find out that some of the specifics include pushing and provoking the target - aka attempting to create a problem where one did not exist.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

Ahmed had practically no history of political giving, and Landmark had little public profile, before he began giving large amounts of money to Obama, Democrats, and Democratic outside spending groups in 2012. Ahmed and his wife contributed well over a million dollars to Democratic efforts in 2012 -- with the bulk of the money going to Priorities USA Action, the most prominent Obama-supporting super PAC.

But while Ahmed was and remains mostly unknown to the wider public, a TPM investigation last year found that both Ahmed and Landmark were familiar to people involved in California's workers' compensation system. People who know the industry and officials in the state told TPM that Landmark was one of several companies that had made millions of dollars in recent years by navigating a tricky corner of the state's workers' compensation system. Ahmed was an advocate of "compound drugs" -- drugs whose ingredients have been combined, mixed, or altered by a pharmacist -- and Landmark made money by buying accounts receivable from medical providers who prescribed compounded topical pain creams. In California, drug compounding was known as a physician profit center in the workers' compensation system, and state lawmakers made a push in 2011 to remove some of the financial incentives associated with compound drugs in the system.

angrysexmachine69
angrysexmachine69

@JGlanton More proof that we need to limit Muslim and Asian immigration to the U.S...More Hispanics please!

deepbackground
deepbackground

I'm a SoCal investigative reporter. How can I contact you about this? Thanks.

Muhammed
Muhammed

@deepbackground Why don't you just read the TPM story, racist cut and paster Glanton wont have any info other than what he was spoonfed.

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