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Federal lawsuit alleges O.C. Sheriff Mike Carona Trafficked in Drugs

by Michael Webster Investigative Reporter Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 at 4:04 PM 949 494-7121

According to documents obtained by the Laguna Journal Soderstrom delivered cocaine and cash to Carona, who resigned in January to face federal corruption charges. The suit said that on one occasion Carona tested the cocaine by taking a pinch with his fingers and inhaling it.


The lawsuit filed by Folsom Prison inmate Randy Lee Soderstrom alleges that he delivered cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs to former O.C. Sheriff Michael Carona, Broadcom Corp's billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III and Henry Samueli.

According to documents obtained by the Laguna Journal Soderstrom delivered cocaine and cash to Carona, who resigned in January to face federal corruption charges. The suit said that on one occasion Carona tested the cocaine by taking a pinch with his fingers and inhaling it.

The lawsuit further alleges that in 2001 Soderstrom delivered cocaine to an unidentified Laguna Beach location where Samueli, Corona and others were present. "Nicholas and Carona snorted cocaine together and Nicholas provided Carona with a large manila envelope that contained cash."

The L.A. Times today quoted one of Carona's attorneys Brian Sun, saying the allegation was "absolutely preposterous and a complete fabrication."

Randy Lee Soderstrom, alleges in the federal racketeering lawsuit that he began supplying cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs to Nicholas after his employer, a travel company, assigned him in 2000 to work full time at Broadcom. Nicholas was chief executive and Samueli was chairman and chief technology officer of the Irvine computer chip firm.

Nicholas like Carona is awaiting trial. Nicholas on federal drug and stock-manipulation charges and Carona faces corruption and other federal charges.

Samueli in federal court early this year pleaded guilty to lying to regulators about his role in the felony case. Recently a federal judge has rejected the plea bargain he struck with federal prosecutors, saying the mandatory sentence of probation and a -million fine appears to be too lenient.

The lawsuit also claims that Soderstrom supplied drugs to Samueli the Anaheim Ducks owner. The lawsuit describes "On at least three occasions, Henry Samueli requested cocaine and ecstasy for him and his wife because they wanted to 'party. "

Soderstrom said he "personally obtained the drugs and gave them to Samueli."

According to the Times Soderstrom was convicted in Orange County in 2004 of attempted robbery, attempted voluntary manslaughter and other crimes and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He maintains that the prosecution was a setup, with lying witnesses linked to Nicholas. He has filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court asking that his conviction be overturned.

Soderstrom filed his pro-se racketeering lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana which is seeking unspecified damages from Nicholas, Samueli and other former Broadcom officers. Soderstrom alleges that his "false arrest and illegal conviction" caused damage to his property and business. In what court observers call strange U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler ruled this week that he (Soderstrom) must first get his criminal conviction overturned before the racketeering civil suit can proceed. Local attorneys say that ruling would imply that if your a inmate your right to file a civil lawsuit is taken away. Convicted prisoners file federal lawsuits all the time. U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler did not return our calls.

The 68-page suit levels numerous charges against Nicholas. It alleges involvement with drugs and prostitutes in 2000 including that he abused teenage prostitutes and threatened to have enemies -- and Soderstrom -- "whacked." It contends that Nicholas bribed employees and public officials to conceal his schemes to distribute drugs and manipulate Broadcom's stock.

Soderstrom, who has testified to having developed a drug problem in the 1990s, described himself as an intermediary between major drug suppliers and Nicholas' circle of associates. He alleged that Nicholas forced him to quit his travel company job and join a drug-trafficking operation that escalated to purchases of cocaine by the kilogram.

Soderstrom said he told Nicholas in September 2001 that he wanted out because he was afraid he would be arrested. Nicholas told him there was no way out "except in a body bag," the suit maintains.

LATEST CORONA UPDATES: Saga Of Orange County's Sheriff Carona indictment

Billionaire Nicholas' attorneys ask court to dismiss case

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