Broadcom Billionaire Henry Nicholas, Ex-Wife of Wells Fargo Heir Busted at Wynn Encore in Las Vegas for Alleged Drug Trafficking
Henry Nicholas III — the billionaire Broadcom founder — was arrested by Las Vegas Metro police on Thursday on suspicion of drug trafficking after a large stash of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy was discovered in his room at the Wynn Encore on the Strip.
Nicholas — worth $3.1 billion, according to Forbes — was detained along with his girlfriend, Ashley Fargo, who was formerly married to Wells Fargo heir and video game designer Brian Fargo.
TMZ reported that Nicholas called security to help when he got locked out of his room. When security staff let him in, they discovered Fargo unconscious on the bed with a partially deflated balloon hanging out of her mouth. Nicholas admitted the balloon had been used for the recreational inhalation of nitrous oxide (sometimes referred to as “hippy crack” or “laughing gas”) — a misdemeanor offense in Nevada.
Police were called when staff noticed two cases that looked like they might contain weapons. Since the October 1, 2017 Mandalay Bay mass shooting, Strip hotels aren’t taking any chances, but officers found them to be stuffed not with firearms, but with hard drugs.
Chesnoff Takes the Case
Las Vegas’ most celebrated criminal defense attorney David Chesnoff was quickly on the job. The former law partner of Oscar Goodman has successfully represented everyone from organized crime figures to A-list celebrities, many of whom — like Mike Tyson, Paris Hilton, and Bruno Mars — were also arraigned on drug charges.
“We’re gathering the facts and we will address the facts in court,” Chesnoff said Thursday about the Nicholas case.
Earlier this week, another Chesnoff client, ex-NBA star Charles Oakley, was handed a $1,000 fine by a Las Vegas judge after admitting to cheating at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em game at the Cosmopolitan. Oakley was initially facing up to six years in prison for casino fraud.
Nicholas made his fortune from microchips for mobile phones and broadband internet devices. His company Broadcom was acquired by Avago in 2016 for $37 billion, although Nicholas all but retired from professional life in 2004.
He has devoted much of his time and money over the past 15 years campaigning for the instatement of Marsy’s Law, a bill of rights for crime victims that will appear on the Nevada ballot in November. The law is named for Nicholas’ sister, Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered by a stalker ex-boyfriend in 1983.
Not His First Brush
Nicholas has found himself on the wrong side of the law before. In June 2008, he and several other Broadcom executives were indicted for securities fraud and options backdating.
At the same time, he was also charged with a string of drug offenses, which included, according to the indictment, “marijuana smoke [wafting into] the cockpit [of the plane Nicholas was on] … requiring the pilot flying the plane to put on an oxygen mask.”
All charges were later thrown out when the judge found that prosecutors had attempted to stop three key defense witnesses from testifying, had improperly contacted defense witnesses’ lawyers, and had leaked information about grand jury proceedings to the media.