Convictions for cannabis cultivators
Two Vietnamese men, who came into the country illegally, helped
run a commercial cannabis factory from a house in Hemel
Thanh Vu, 35, and Duong Le, 33, will face deportation once they
have served prison sentences for their part in the operation that
could have produced nearly a quarter of a million pounds' worth of
Peter Shaw, prosecuting at St Albans Crown Court on Monday said
the men were arrested on 26 March last year when police checked a
silver Audi that was parked in Long Chaulden, Hemel. Vu, who was
the driver, had no insurance and £540 on him.
Documents and a key Le had thrown onto the floor led the
officers to 292 Belswains Lane in Hemel. The door had been locked
from the inside and the officers had to force their way in. They
found 202 cannabis plants in an infant stage of growth in the
loft. In one bedroom there were 56 mature plants and in a
second room were 36 more.
According to a police expert, the 294 plants would have produced
skunk valued at between £82,000 and £247,000.
Both men, who were aided by a Vietnamese interpreter, pleaded
guilty to cultivating cannabis. Vu also admitted having no
Francis McGrath said Vu had come to the UK 4 years ago in the
back of a lorry from France. He had wanted to send money back to
Andrew Horsell said Le had borrowed money to get to the UK via
Russia and Europe. He had been working in a kitchen, but lost his
job in 2013 and was sofa surfing with friends when he was offered
the chance to water the cannabis plants.
Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "It was a substantial cannabis
factory. They were manufacturing cannabis on a commercial
He told them he accepted they were not the brains of the
operation and sentenced Vu to 20 months and Le to 16 months.
The judge told them: "The border agency will automatically
consider deportation when you have completed your sentence."
£540 found on Vu was forfeit.
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