Five Vietnamese nationals in Australia part of $2.8mln cannabis operation

By Phan Anh   October 18, 2018 | 05:03 am PT
Five Vietnamese nationals in Australia part of $2.8mln cannabis operation
A cannabis plantation. Photo by Shutterstock
Five Vietnamese nationals in Australia have pleaded guilty to roles in a $2.8 million cannabis operation, The Herald reports.

Hundreds of cannabis plants were found in six separate homes in the suburbs of Maitland, New South Wales during multiple raids in the area by local police in February, the Wednesday report said.

Vuong Luu Quoc, Anh Quang Pham, Tuan Dac Trinh and Kim Phuong admitted in the Newcastle Local Court Wednesday to “crop sitting” the cannabis plants at homes in Tenambit, Heddon Greta and Morpeth in February.

“Crop sitting” refers to the act of living inside homes while watering and keeping watch on cannabis plants grown there.

Anh Thy Vu, wife of Quoc, pleaded guilty to "concealing a serious indictable offense" after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew a charge of "cultivating a commercial quantity of a prohibited plant," quoted The Herald. She was said to not have been involved in the cultivation of the cannabis plants.

Quoc and Pham pleaded guilty to “cultivating a commercial quantity of a prohibited plant.”

Quoc, Pham, Trinh and Phuong will appear in the Newcastle District Court to get their sentence dates next week. Quoc is also likely to be deported once he’s eligible for parole.

Magistrate Robert Stone placed Vu under a two-year community correction order and ordered her not associate with Quoc.

Last month, another Vietnamese man in Australia was sentenced to five years in jail for cultivating $750,000 worth of cannabis plants and stealing $151,000 worth of electricity. He also faces deportation after he’s released from prison.

Australia is fairly relaxed about cannabis use. In February 2016 the Federal Government passed laws to legalize medicinal cannabis to treat patients with painful and chronic conditions with products imported from overseas.

It has also given the green light for licensed companies to legally import, store and sell the drug until domestic production meets local needs.

But cannabis is still illegal in Vietnam and its cultivation is punishable by up to seven years in jail.

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