A Vietnamese man has pleaded not guilty to running five cannabis ‘factories’ in Gloucestershire.
Hoa Nguyen, 51, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to five counts of producing the drug between March 31, 2008, and January 16, 2009.
He also pleaded not guilty to five counts of stealing electricity at the houses at 58 Massey Road, Gloucester, 18 Evesham Road, Bishop’s Cleeve, 41 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, 46 Townsend Street, Cheltenham, and 1 Springfield Close, Cheltenham.
Illegal Vietnamese immigrant Thauh Van Dang, 50, who was arrested at the Evesham Road address when it was raided by police on January 14, also appeared with Nguyen.
The court heard how the house had been ”completely converted, from floor to ceiling, for cannabis production”.
Dang, who entered the country illegally in 2001 from Hanoi, Vietnam, was charged with two counts of producing cannabis and two of abstracting electricity.
He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at the Massey Road address, but not guilty to the same offence at the Evesham Road address and to the electricity thefts.
His plea was accepted by the crown, and he was sentenced to 12 months.
The court heard how Dang had only been at the Evesham Road address to visit his then girlfriend, Nguyenthi Phuong, who was also arrested.
Phuong was jailed on April 24 for a year after pleading guilty to cannabis production at Gloucester Crown Court.
At her sentencing, the court heard how there was a £20,000 crop of cannabis at the Evesham Road address alone.
Prosecuting Dang, Lisa Hennisey said: ”He was arrested on the January 14 at the Evesham Road address, where the house had been completely converted, from floor to ceiling, for cannabis production.
”The defendant was arrested, along with Ms Phuong, but the defendant’s fingerprints were also found at the Massey Road address.
”He was looking after that address, at the bottom of the ladder, as it were.”
Sentencing Dang to 12 months’ imprisonment, of which he will have to serve six, Judge Martin Picton said: ”You’ve pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
”But you were helping to grow this cannabis, contrary to the assertions you made in interview.
”I see no reason to make a distinction between yourself and the person I sentenced on April 24 – your then girlfriend.
”For the rest of your time in this country you will remain on licence, and I will also make a recommendation for deportation.”
Nguyen is charged with five counts of producing a controlled class C drug, as the charges were brought before cannabis was redesignated as Class B on January 26 this year.
He was remanded in custody until his trial, which is set for September 7.