What do a meth, coke, molly, heroin stash and Vegas allegedly have in common? Broadcom cofounder Henry Nicolas

Hard-partying tech baron (no, not that one) cuffed

Broadcom billionaire cofounder Henry Nicholas was this week cuffed on suspicion of drug trafficking – after cops allegedly seized a huge stash of narcotics in his Las Vegas hotel suite.

The chip design giant's 59-year-old ex-CEO and his companion Ashley Fargo were arrested on Tuesday night after security staff at the Encore Hotel apparently found the contraband in his suite, police spokespeople confirmed on Thursday. When officers arrived, they allegedly recovered enough heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, as well as nitrous oxide, from the room to suspect the biz baron of trafficking.

And you thought your DEF CON party was wild.

Nicholas was booked and released from jail on his own recognizance, we're told. His lawyers said they will "deal with the facts in court." Fargo – reportedly the former wife of an heir to the Wells Fargo bank fortune – was also cuffed on the same allegations as Nicholas, and was also released on her own recognizance. That means no bail or bond money was paid: they simply agree to show up in court as necessary.


Amazingly, being in a hotel room full of drugs is probably one of the tamer allegations to be leveled against Nicholas in the years since he made his billions as one of two cofounders of semiconductor behemoth Broadcom. Today, having left the 27-year-old business in 2003, he has a roughly $3bn fortune.

In 2008, Nicholas was hit with drug charges as well as claims of stock fraud during his time with Broadcom. He would beat both those raps in 2010, though not before a trove of stories surfaced about his – allegedly – legendary habits involving drugs and debauchery in the early 2000s.

Henry Nicholas III pleads not guilty to options, drugs charges


Among the sordid tales was a 2001 plane ride in which Nicholas and other passengers on his private jet smoked so much marijuana that pilots had to put on oxygen masks, least they get too high to fly the plane. And we're not talking altitude.

Other yarns claim Nicholas would regularly spike the drinks of staff and customers with MDMA, and had been known to hire high-class prostitutes to entertain himself and guests. He was also, at one point, accused of securing a commercial warehouse in southern California to serve as his personal venue for wild parties, and building an underground room in his own house where he could go for drug binges.

All of this is alleged, of course. Nicolas has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. As the LA Times noted, "he has spent millions of dollars advocating for crime victims, helping pass California’s three-strikes felony law and a victims’ rights law known as Marsy’s Law, named for his sister, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983." ®

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