An illegal immigrant who admitted “managing cannabis factories” has been jailed for two years.
Xun Jin Jiang was charged after police found over 1,000 cannabis plants during raids on houses in Warrenpoint, Crossmaglen and Armagh last summer.
The 46-year-old, who is originally from China, was about to be deported when he was arrested at an immigration holding station in England in September 2008.
Jiang was linked to each “factory” by DNA and forensic evidence.
His fingerprints were at two of the houses and his DNA profile was found on two cigarette butts discovered at the other.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of producing class C drug cannabis, two of possessing it with intent to supply and one of cultivating cannabis plants, all on dates between July 2007 and July 2008.
The plants had an estimated street value of £361,000.
Jiang’s defence lawyer said his client had accepted his guilt on the basis that he knew what was going on in the houses but said that his role was more akin to that of a “facilitator”.
He added that it did not bring him “any extensive personal gain”.
Judge Patrick Lynch QC told Jiang he had entered the UK illegally and had abused the system for his own benefit “to the detriment of this society”.
He recommended that Jiang be deported after serving his sentence.