Mother jailed after admitting paying bills for cannabis grow house
A Vietnamese mother has been jailed for two and half years after she admitted paying the bills and organising supplies for a cannabis growing factory.
Tien Nguyen (39) of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis for sale or supply and cultivation of cannabis in Knocklyon, Dublin on January 5, 2013. The drugs were in plant and harvested form and had a total estimated street value of €151,400.
Garda Ciaran Moroney told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí had the house under surveillance when they spotted Nguyen arrive with another man in a BMW.
The court heard that minutes later officers forced entry after no one answered the door and they immediately got a strong smell of cannabis.
The second room off the hall had been converted for the cultivation of cannabis plants and there were plants of varying stages of growth under lights. They were later valued at €84,400.
There were bags of harvested cannabis in the forms of leaves discovered in the kitchen which had an estimated value of €67,000.
Nguyen and the man were arrested in the kitchen.
Nguyen initially didn’t make any admissions but later told gardaí that it was her role to pay all the expenses on the house and ensure that there was a constant supply of plant food.
Gda Moroney agreed with Giollaíosa O’Lideadha SC, defending, that Nguyen made admissions in relation to her role in the operation and in general co-operated with the investigation.
He further agreed that she was concerned about the welfare of her 16-year-old daughter.
Mr O’Lideadha told Judge Martin Nolan that his client’s role was to call regularly to the house to ensure that expenses were paid and the plants had the necessary equipment, such as lighting and food, to survive.
Counsel said his client has been remanded in custody since her arrest and there were prison reports before the court which outlined that she had “an excellent attitude” in the jail and worked in the kitchen.
He said Nguyen came from a very poor background and worked as labourer as a child.
She was an economic refugee in Hong Kong before she moved to England where she got married. Her marriage broke down after her husband had an affair..
“She got into emotional and financial difficulty,” Mr O’Lideadha said and explained that Nguyen then began to gamble and soon got into debt.
He said she got involved in this offence to pay off the debts and was in genuine fear for her daughter and herself.
Mr O’Lideadha said his client has citizenship in the UK and she was happy to return to the UK with her daughter upon release from custody.
Judge Nolan said Nguyen was “slightly higher up on the ladder, a few steps, than those people who are brought to Ireland to look after cannabis plants and don’t see the light of day until gardaí arrive to arrest them”.
He jailed Nguyen for two and half years and backdated the term to when she first went into custody in January.