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Judge Locks Up Cannabis Growers

Herb Fellow

New Member
A Judge has ordered the deportation of two illegal immigrants from Vietnam who were involved in growing cannabis in Port Talbot.The pair were arrested after cannabis plants were discovered at a semi-detached house in Baglan.

Appearing before Swansea Crown Court on Monday were 22-year-old Minh Tong and 32-year-old Phuong Tran.

Tong was jailed for 18 months, and Tran for 15 months, after they pleaded guilty to illegally growing cannabis last summer.

Christopher James, prosecuting, told Judge Michael Burr: "They are both illegal immigrants who have never applied for asylum."

The court heard the cannabis factory was found at a rented property in Maple Avenue owned by a man called Alexander Baker.

During a visit to collect mail from his property last August, Mr Baker was shocked to find that extra locks had been fitted to the front of the premises.

He got in through a rear door and was horrified to find 182 cannabis plants were being cultivated in the bedrooms.

It was a sophisticated operation involving reflectors, sun lamps, timers and extractor fans, said Mr James.

The electricity meter had been tampered with and more than £2,000 worth of electricity had been illegally obtained to power the lights needed for the plants.

The court heard that Mr Baker alerted the police - and neighbours rang 999 when Tong and Tran visited the premises on a visit from London on August 2.

When the defendants were arrested in nearby Chestnut Road, Tong was found to have more than £700 on him.

Mr James said that because all the plants were less than six weeks old it was impossible to calculate their potential yield and the street value of the cannabis they might have produced.

Robin Rouch, in mitigation, said Tong had set up the tenancy agreement for someone else.

Stephen Rees said Tran had helped deliver the equipment used at the premises.

Judge Burr said it was a serious case and only prison terms were appropriate.

"When you are released, it is my recommendation that you be deported," he told Tong and Tran.

He directed that the £700 found on Tong should be handed over to Mr Baker to help towards the £1,400 cost of repairing the damage caused to the house.

Last week Judge Burr also recommended the deportation of a 23-year-old Vietnamese man from London. Tran Tuan was arrested at a house in Blaenymaes, Swansea, where 315 cannabis plants were said to have a potential yield of 5.5 kilos - with a street value of up to £50,000.

Source: thisissouthwales.co.uk
Copyright: 2007 thisissouthwales.co.uk
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