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Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug trafficking

Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Broadcom co-founder and billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of narcotics trafficking after police discovered heroin, cocaine, meth and ecstasy in his suite at the Encore Hotel, police said Thursday.

Las Vegas Metropolitan police detained Nicholas, 59, and a woman, Ashley Fargo, about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday after hotel security called the police to the room, said Officer Larry Hadfield, a department spokesman. Hadfield said security reported finding contraband in the room.

Nicholas and Fargo were arrested and booked for multiple felonies on suspicion of trafficking heroin, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamines, Hadfield said.

Both since have been released from custody, he said. He did not mention a bail amount.

This is the latest run-in with the law for Nicholas, who stepped down as chief executive of Broadcom in 2003 and who, according to Forbes, has a fortune of $3.1 billion.

Nicholas was indicted in 2008 on charges that he had provided cocaine and ecstasy to friends and business associates. The indictment alleged that Nicholas installed "a secret and convenient lair" at his home in Laguna Hills to indulge an obsession with prostitutes.

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The indictment also said that during a flight from Orange County to Las Vegas, Nicholas and his entourage generated so much marijuana smoke that it billowed into the cockpit, "requiring the pilot flying the plane to put on an oxygen mask."

In a separate indictment, prosecutors accused Nicholas and fellow Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli of backdating Broadcom stock options to make them more valuable to prized employees without accounting for the practice in regulatory filings.

In 2009, a federal judge dismissed the criminal charges against Nicholas and Samueli related to stock-option backdating and then, in early 2010, dismissed the drug distribution charges against Nicholas.

"I have long held a deep and abiding faith in the American justice system," Nicholas said at the time.

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