Traffic stop results in San Diego man facing six felony drug-related charges

Liem Duy Nguyen faces a maximum combined 195 years on all charges, including importing controlled substances across state borders.

Mugshot of Liem Duy Nguyen

WORTHINGTON — A San Diego man, Liem Duy Nguyen, was charged with a series of drug-related offenses after a traffic stop near Worthington. Included in the charges against Nguyen, 40, are two counts of first-degree aggravated controlled substance crimes, a count of first-degree drug sale, and first- and third-degree charges for possession of methamphetamine and cocaine, respectively. Nguyen also faces a count of importing controlled substances across state borders for a total of six felony-level charges.

The Feb. 8 traffic stop was initiated when a Worthington Police Officer on Minnesota 60 observed a vehicle with an unreadable license plate. The officer initiated a traffic stop and after speaking with the driver, identified Nguyen by his California driver’s license.

Nguyen stated he was driving from San Diego to St. Paul to visit his cousin and that the car belonged to his ex-girlfriend, but was also his. The officer observed that Nguyen seemed restless during their conversation and there was perspiration on his face. Nguyen proceeded to volunteer the vehicle registration and passport without further documentation being requested and having already provided his license.

Upon running the license, the officer realized it was expired and issued Nguyen a warning. The officer asked if there was anything illegal in the car. According to the report, Nguyen said no and gave the officer permission to search the vehicle.

The officer reportedly located a baggie of white powder in the center console armrest, which Nguyen confirmed was cocaine. The baggie weighed approximately 16.89 grams. A vacuum sealer and vacuum seal bags were also located inside the car's trunk. Inside the spare tire compartment of the trunk, a blanket was found to be covering multiple packages, some of which were in plastic wrap and others were vacuum sealed.


The officer reportedly observed crystal shards in the plastic-wrapped bundles that were recognized as methamphetamine and field-tested positive as so. The vacuum-sealed bags reportedly appeared to contain the same substance. There were seven plastic-wrapped bundles, each weighing approximately one pound, and five vacuum-sealed bags that amounted to approximately 11.7 pounds altogether. The total approximate weight of suspected methamphetamine was 18.7 pounds.

Nguyen was detained at Nobles County Jail and bail with conditions was set at $100,000. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

If convicted, Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of 40 years and/or a $1 million fine on each of the aggravated drug charges, and 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1 million fine on both the first-degree drug possession and drug sale charges. The charge of controlled substance crime in the third degree carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine and importing controlled substances across state lines could result in a maximum sentence of 35 Years, a $1.25 million fine, or both.

Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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