Cannabis Bust: Weed Gardener Arrested on Rented Property
On December 14, a Vietnamese man named Phong Hong Le was arrested while climbing out of an upstairs bedroom window in Findon Avenue in Sacriston, near Durham, England.
The police searched the semi-detached property when Durham Crown Court heard the man was arrested. While searching the property, the police discovered the entire first floor and the loft were used to grow cannabis.
A prosecutor, Shaun Dryden, claimed that the police discovered 81 mature cannabis plants in three bedrooms on the first floor. They estimated that the value for those plants is anywhere between £14,500 and £43,740 ($20,000 and $60,352). In the loft area, 87 immature cannabis plants were recovered, with the sales value between £15,500 and £46,000 (over $21,000 and $63,000) .
Mr Dryden said that they discovered the man thanks to bypassing the electricity meter, extractor fans, and the “usual” hydroponic equipment used for growing cannabis. It costs £10,000 (over $13,000) just to put the equipment in place.
Le’s fingerprints were found on the plant pots in two rooms on the first floor.
When arrested, Le gave a fake birth date, looking like he’s just 14 years old. However, when asked for his age by Judge Ray Singh, Le confessed he was a 27-year-old man. Le also admitted producing B-class cannabis.
When trying to mitigate, Vic Laffey said that Le arrived 12 days before the arrest and was only a “gardener” on the property for the previous four days because he was in desperate need of food and accommodation.
The judge told Le: “You came to this country during a pandemic and became embroiled in a criminal enterprise, on your own admission, very quickly.”
Le got a 12-month prison sentence and can serve half of the sentence in custody. After his release, the immigration authorities will very likely organize his departure.