Vietnamese men to be sentenced over growhouse

Gardaí in Tralee, Co Kerry, who raided a huge cannabis growhouse in an industrial estate in Tralee on confidential information, found €1.4m worth of cannabis under cultivation and living quarters for two people.

Two Vietnamese men, both aged 30, were arrested at the scene in October 21, 2013, and both pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale and supply and to cultivation of cannabis illegally, the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee was told at the sentencing hearing yesterday.

The operation in part of the 40-acre industrial complex in Tralee had been sealed off from outside entry; up to €50,000 had been needed to turn what had been a warehouse into a growhouse, and “a significant drug gang” operating internationally had been behind it, and in charge of the two men, said the head of the Kerry Drugs Division.

Neither man had previous convictions here. Cao Son Nguyen left Vietnam in 2003 and had been a fisherman in Africa and a chef in Spain. Gardaí felt he had a lesser role, Sgt Declan Liddane told Tom Rice prosecuting.

Anthony Sammon, defending Tran Dinh Hoa, said his client was just an “operative”, even if more significant than his co-accused.

David Sutton, defending, Son Nguyen said his client had been co-operative.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell adjourned handing down sentence to December 3. Both men have been in custody since October 2013, the court heard.


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