'They forced me to do it,' says woman charged in connection with €900k cannabis grow house

A 32-year-old Vietnamese woman charged with cultivating cannabis at Tinarana House told Gardaí that she was forced to do it.

'They forced me to do it,' says woman charged in connection with €900k cannabis grow house

A 32-year-old Vietnamese woman charged with cultivating cannabis at Tinarana House told Gardaí that she was forced to do it.

At a special sitting of Ennis District Court this evening, Thuy Thi Nguyen was charged in connection with the discovery of a cannabis grow house at the Victorian mansion on the shores of Lough Derg near Killaloe in east Clare.

More than 500 cannabis plants at various growth stages were found at the 16-bedroomed property on Friday last and initial Garda estimates put a street value of €900,000 on the plants.

The operation involved members of the Clare Divisional Drugs Unit, local uniform and plainclothes Gardaí, the Western Region Armed Support Unit and the Cork Garda Dog Unit including the unit’s dog, Laser.

In court, Detective Garda Seamus Doyle of Kildare Garda Station said that when Ms Nguyen of no fixed abode was charged with the offence, she replied: “I feel upset and scared because they forced me to do it.”

Ms Nguyen required the assistance of an interpreter in court and her solicitor, John Casey, said that there would be no application for bail at this time.

Judge Marie Keane granted legal aid for Mr Casey to represent the accused.

The cannabis grow house at Tinarana House. Photo: An Garda Síochána
The cannabis grow house at Tinarana House. Photo: An Garda Síochána

Ms Nguyen is charged with cultivating without a licence cannabis plants at Tinarana House on May 31st last contrary to Section 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Det. Doyle said that at 10.26pm on Saturday night at Ennis Garda Station, he arrested Thuy Nguyen for the purpose of charge and cautioned her.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan of Ennis Garda Station said the Garda application is for a remand in custody.

Judge Keane remanded Ms Nguyen in custody to re-appear before Ennis District Court on Wednesday, June 5.

Judge Keane also ordered that a Vietnamese interpreter be in court on Wednesday to assist with the case.

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