Drug factory man is jailed
8:10am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Latest News
AN ILLEGAL immigrant who ran a cannabis factory in a town centre house has been jailed for two years.
And Van Bui is likely to be sent back to Vietnam when he is released from prison at the halfway point of the sentence.
Officers raided the terraced house earlier this summer and found four rooms had been converted for the growing of the drug.
They found 266 cannabis plants, some which were still seedlings and others ready for harvest, along with all the kit for growing them.
It is thought the drugs could have yielded as much as £100,000 on full maturity and depending on the quality of the plants.
When the 45-year-old was questioned he admitted he had been running the factory for five months and was getting paid £500 a month with board and lodgings included.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how police armed with a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act went to the house in Curtis Street on Wednesday August 28.
She said: “When police entered the property they found Mr Bui present in what was effectively a house which had been converted into a cannabis factory.
“There were three bedrooms and one reception room being used for growing the plants which were in various stages of development.”
She said it had been hoped that there would be a statement from an expert putting an exact value on the harvest, but while it had not arrived and there are always variations on drugs’ worth, it would clearly be a very large amount.
When Bui was questioned he said he had been approached by another Vietnamese man and offered the work.
As well as the cash he said he would also receive food, beer and wine from his paymasters, though he said he had only actually received two months pay.
He told officers that he was responsible for planting the seeds, controlling the lights, as well as feeding and watering.
Although he also harvested the mature buds from the leaves he said another man came to help him with that stage.
During the five months he had been at the house he told officers there had been three harvests.
Bui, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis.
Claire Fraser, defending, said: “He is clearly someone who has been used by those higher up in the chain. He has no one here, all his family are back in Vietnam."”
Jailing him, Judge Douglas Field said: “You have pleaded guilty to the offence of producing 266 cannabis plants.
“You were working in a residential house that had been converted to a fully established cannabis factory. You were responsible for all stages of the cultivation of that cannabis.
“I accept that on the chain concerning the supply of cannabis you were towards the bottom and as so often happens the people who make all the money are not caught.
“I have passed a sentence in excess of 12 months and in view of the fact that you are here illegally you will be deported at the end of your sentence.”