Australia jails two Vietnamese cannabis crop-sitters

By Nguyen Quy   May 3, 2019 | 10:29 pm PT
Australia jails two Vietnamese cannabis crop-sitters
A farmer holds a cannabis plant. Photo by Shutterstock/igorstevanovic
An Australian court sentenced two Vietnamese ‘crop-sitters’ working for hundreds of cannabis plants on Friday.

Quang Le was sentenced to three years and four months in jail while his accomplice Si Ngo got two years in prison after they pleaded guilty to "crop sitting" hundreds of cannabis plants at homes in the suburbs of Newcastle, ABC News reported.

Crop sitting refers to the act of living in homes and tending to cannabis plants grown there.

The court heard Quang had racked up $30,000 worth of gambling debt and was being pressured by loan sharks, forcing him to guard cannabis crops to service his debt.

It also heard Ngo became a crop-sitter after his student visa expired and his work as a strawberry picker dried up.

Ngo will be deported upon his release in August 2020, the court ruled.

It is a crime to be caught with cannabis in Australia. However, possession of a small amount for personal use is not a criminal offense in several states.

The Australian government estimates more than 2,300 Vietnamese students have overstayed their visas in the country. Many of them have been involved in growing and selling cannabis.

Last month, four Vietnamese men were sentenced to up to three years and four months in jail for playing different roles in a $2.8 million cannabis operation in Australia.

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