Quy Nguyen, a Seattle gang leader convicted of killing a perceived rival for control of an illegal drug and gambling operation, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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Quy Nguyen, a Seattle gang leader convicted of killing a perceived rival for control of an illegal drug and gambling operation, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez sentenced Nguyen on Friday to 304 months for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, a term that will run concurrently with a 304-month sentence handed down last month in King County Superior Court.

Nguyen pleaded guilty in October to a federal drug charge and to state charges of second-degree murder with a firearm and conspiracy to commit organized crime.

“Working together, federal and local law enforcement have taken a very dangerous criminal off the street,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

For more than a decade, Nguyen used violence to maintain control of the Young Seattle Boyz, a gang that laundered millions of dollars from marijuana growing, drug trafficking and gambling, federal investigators said.

He was known to associates as The Godfather, The Boss and The Old Man, according to federal court papers.

Nguyen, 44, and two other defendants, Jerry Henry Thomas III and Le Nhu Le, pleaded guilty in connection with the 2007 murder of Hoang Nguyen, who operated gang-controlled marijuana grow houses but whom Quy Nguyen viewed as a rival for control of the gang.

Thomas, who was hired to kill Hoang Nguyen, was sentenced in November to 23 years in state prison. Le, who earlier agreed to testify against Thomas and Quy Nguyen, received concurrent five-year state and federal sentences. Another defendant, Kristine Nguyen, was convicted and sentenced for money laundering.

Federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo that Quy Nguyen admitted “a long-term pattern of violence that was designed to maintain the profitability of his marijuana and gambling enterprises.”

Kenneth Hines, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Seattle Field Office, said in a statement that “dirty money” was used to buy homes in Seattle and Tukwila where marijuana was grown. “Law enforcement will not stand by while our neighborhoods are put at risk,” he said.

Quy Nguyen attempted to withdraw his guilty pleas, claiming his court interpreter gave him inaccurate information, his public defenders didn’t spend enough time on his case and his jail cellmates left him confused and sleep-deprived.

Martinez and King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector rejected those motions. Spector said Nguyen was “clearly aware of what he was pleading guilty to and the consequences of the plea,” and said he had fabricated complaints against his attorneys and interpreter.

Nguyen will serve his sentence in federal prison, but he could be transferred to state custody if the federal term is shortened.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com