Man found at raided house lived in 'a box'
A MAN was effectively living in a cardboard box at a cannabis grow house when gardai raided it.
Malaysian Soon Hock Hoo (34) was found in the squalid living conditions when guards swooped on the site at Cornafulla, off the old Athlone-Ballinasloe Road, on December 19 last. Det Sgt Adrian Queeney told Roscommon Circuit Court a search team had arrived at the premises, which was divided into six rooms and where 700 cannabis plants were growing.
The only person present was Soon Hock Hoo and he was taken to Athlone garda station for questioning. He told gardai he had been offered €400 a week as a gardener and the job was to last six or seven weeks.
Det Sgt Queeney said the potential street value of each plant was €800, giving an overall value of €560,000, while the bag of cannabis herb was valued at €78,000.
The accused man had pleaded guilty to a single charge of cultivating cannabis plants without a licence. Det Sgt Queeney told defence counsel that the living conditions were squalid. Effectively he had been living in a cardboard box.
He was remanded in custody and the judge imposed a four-year sentence, to be suspended next December if arrangements aren't made for his departure from the country by then.