Canada Pair To Serve Time For Pot Grow Op


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The two Vietnamese men involved in a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in the Halifax and Truro areas were sentenced to federal prison on Thursday.

The hearings in Dartmouth provincial court and Nova Scotia Supreme Court bring federal Crown attorney Mark Covan almost to the end of the lengthy list of defendants arrested in the 2004 drug bust, dubbed Operation Hunger.

Binh Tran, who was linked to drug operations in Nova Scotia and Ontario, was sentenced to five years by a joint recommendation by the Crown and his lawyer.

The Bedford resident pleaded guilty to production and possession of marijuana — two counts for the Ontario drug ring and two for the Nova Scotia operation — and one count of theft of power.

Mr. Tran, whose brother Dung Van Tran was sentenced to three years for his involvement in the Nova Scotia bust, took off to Ontario shortly after police arrested 10 people in the October 2004 sting.

Two more arrests were made over the next two years, including Mr. Tran, who was brought back to Nova Scotia.

In total, officers searched 20 sites in Bible Hill, Clayton Park, Bedford, Lower Sackville and Tantallon. They seized 4,000 marijuana plants, cash and 10 vehicles.

Mr. Covan also presented a joint recommendation for two years for Quoc Nguyen’s involvement in the Halifax marijuana growing operation.

Mr. Nguyen, who offered up his Tantallon home at 51 Longards Rd. to grow a chunk of the pot, pleaded guilty to production of marijuana and theft of power.
A search of the home, where he lives with his wife and two young children, turned up almost 680 plants as well as a quantity of harvested marijuana and roughly $20,000 worth of ventilation and electrical equipment.

Police figured the setup allowed more than $5,000 worth of power to be illegally rerouted to the house.

Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy was quick to express his disgust not only for the drug trade, but also the fact that Mr. Nguyen exposed his family to the dangerous people often associated with illegal activities.

"Operating in the midst of riding bicycles, children walking back and forth to school, birthday parties in the backyard, we have this drug factory," the judge said. Mr. Nguyen, you had two little children in that property, two little children in that drug factory."

Mr. Nguyen’s wife, Thi Phuong Thao Huynh, was facing the same charges as her husband. However, Mr. Covan decided to dismiss the indictment. She was not in court.

The Crown also withdrew a forfeiture application to seize the Longards Road residence.

Mr. Covan pointed out that Mr. Nguyen is small potatoes compared to most of the others involved in the growing operation.

He specifically mentioned Tin Duc Lu and Van Ut Nguyen, who recently pleaded guilty to producing and possessing marijuana, as well as theft of power. They were sentenced to three years and 3 ½ years in federal prison, respectively.

A third man, Minh Nhut On, was sentenced to two years after pleading guilty to production and possession of marijuana in his Halifax home, and theft of power at a Bible Hill residence.

Mr. Covan said it was greed that motivated those men, while it was financial difficulties due to a past gambling problem that pushed Mr. Nguyen into the game.

Three men from the original 12 people arrested are still in the midst of court proceedings.

The five-week trial for Anh Tuan Nguyen wraps up in Halifax provincial court on April 16, while the trials for An Van Duong and Tuan Duong will begin in November and January 2008, respectively. All three men are from the Halifax area.

COPYRIGHT: thechronicleherald
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