Judge Recommends Jail Then Deportation For Cannabis Growing Asylum Seeker

A Vietnamese man recruited to cultivate cannabis plants with a street value of more than £36,000 at a house in Newport was jailed for two years. Asylum seeker Khan Van Nguyen, 24, of no fixed abode, was recruited at a London hotel and sent to cultivate cannabis plants at a rented house in Newport.

Sentencing Judge John Curran said there had been a disturbing number of similar cases in the South Wales area. The court heard that officers called at the home and discovered Nguyen was cultivating 304 cannabis plants with a street value of up £36,640.

Sharon Bahia prosecuting said: “Officers told him to open the door and when he did there was an overpowering smell of cannabis. The man tried to obstruct the officers, then was arrested and on searching the property they saw large flexible pipes, similar to ones used in hydroponic factories and several hundred cannabis plants.”

Nguyen pleaded guilty to a charge of cannabis production between January 4 and January 11 this year. Howard Hughes, defending, said the defendant was a ‘pawn’ in the illegal trade. “The money he was to receive has been paid to his family in Vietnam,” he said.

“He is not the person who organised the house and not the person who started up the system. He was there to cultivate the plants on instruction from others who paid the rent.”

Judge Curran said he would recommend Nguyen be deported once released. “If people like you were not prepared to run cannabis farms like this then people higher up the criminal chain would not be able to get away with it.”