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Billionaire Broadcom founder is arrested on drug trafficking charges


The billionaire co-founder of the semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom and his girlfriend have been arrested in Las Vegas on drug trafficking charges after police say they discovered cases of heroin, cocaine and other drugs in the couple’s hotel room after a medical emergency.

As the gossip site TMZ first reported, citing law enforcement sources, the incident began unfolding on Tuesday when controversial tech tycoon and philanthropist Henry Nicholas III, 59, was unable to enter his room at the four-star Encore Hotel and called security.

When hotel personnel gained access into the room, they reportedly found Nicholas’ girlfriend, Ashley Fargo, lying unresponsive with a partially inflated balloon sticking out of her mouth.

Henry Nicholas III

Ashley Fargo

Billionaire Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas III (left), 59, and his girlfriend Ashley Fargo (right), have been arrested in Las Vegas in drug trafficking charges  

Police reportedly discovered cases stuffed with marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy inside Nicholas' hotel room at Encore Las Vegas 

Police reportedly discovered cases stuffed with marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy inside Nicholas’ hotel room at Encore Las Vegas 

Paramedics who were summoned to the scene were able to revive Fargo, after which hotel security began questioning Nicholas about the balloon and canisters found in the room.

Nicholas reportedly admitted that the receptacles contained nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.

Encore personnel also observed several cases in the room that looked similar to those used to transport weapons, and contacted police.

Responding officer opened the cases and discovered a large quantity of marijuana, as well as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy pills, which were stamped with the likeness of Winnie the Pooh, TMZ reported.

Nicholas, whose current net worth is estimated at $3.1billion, according to Forbes, and his girlfriend, whose ex-husband is a banking heir, were arrested on felony drug trafficking charges.

This is not Nicholas’ first run-in with the law: in 2008, the flamboyant former CEO of Broadcom was indicted on securities fraud, conspiracy and federal narcotics trafficking charges, which were all later dismissed.

Nicholas helped launch Broadcom in 1991 with his business partner Henry Samueli and became a billionaire when the chipmaker went public seven years later.

In 2008, Nicholas was indicted on securities fraud, conspiracy and federal narcotics charges, which were all later dismissed (pictured leaving court in 2010 after trafficking charges were dropped) 

In 2008, Nicholas was indicted on securities fraud, conspiracy and federal narcotics charges, which were all later dismissed (pictured leaving court in 2010 after trafficking charges were dropped) 

At one time, Ashley Fargo was married to Brian Fargo, a successful video game designer and a scion of the family that created Wells Fargo and American Express

Ashley Fargo

At one time, Ashley Fargo was married to Brian Fargo, a successful video game designer and a scion of the family that created Wells Fargo and American Express

He resigned from the board of Broadcom in 2003, saying he wished to reconcile with his then-estranged wife, Stacy, and spend more time with their three children. He maintained a 3 per cent stake in his company. 

The couple divorced in March 2008, putting an end to their 20-year marriage, which had begun crumbling after Mrs Nicholas allegedly caught her husband with a prostitute inside his secret sex lair situated in a tunnel beneath the family’s sprawling Laguna Hills estate.

Ashley Fargo was once married to Brian Fargo, a successful video game designer and scion of the family that created Wells Fargo and American Express

Ashley Fargo was once married to Brian Fargo, a successful video game designer and scion of the family that created Wells Fargo and American Express

These salacious allegations first came to light in 2002, when a contractor hired by Nicholas to build a $30million underground complex under his mansion sued the billionaire, accusing him of failing to pay construction workers for their labor, reported Los Angeles Times. 

The plaintiffs in the case also claimed that Nicholas had a ‘manic’ obsession with prostitutes, whom he would bring to his personal subterranean ‘brothel,’ and that he was addicted to cocaine and ecstasy.

The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court. 

Since his departure from Broadcom, Nicholas has been devoting his time and money to charity work and has emerged as a leading crime victims’ rights advocate.

He donated millions from his fortune to create a so-called ‘crime victims’ bill of rights’ – dubbed Marsy’s Law after his sister Marsalee Nicholas, who was shot dead by her ex-boyfriend in 1983 – and add the legislation to California’s state constitution in 2008.

Over the past decade, Nicholas has been working to introduce versions of Marsy’s Law to other states, including Illinois and Ohio.

Marsy’s Law requires that crime victims be notified and heard in most criminal proceedings, receive protection and ‘full and timely’ restitution and be allowed to confer with prosecutors.

Little is known about Ashley Fargo, beyond the fact that at one time she was married to Brian Fargo, a successful video game designer and scion of the family that created Wells Fargo and American Express. 

She is believed to have three children from previous relationships and, according to her social media, appears to live a lavish lifestyle filled with high-end labels and private jets. 



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