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“Crop sitters” sentenced

TWO Vietnamese nationals arrested during a raid on a cannabis grow house in Hamilton last year will spend a further five months in jail for their roles as “crop sitters”.

Thi Nguyen, 64, and Tai Van Tran, 40, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court on Wednesday to cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis.

The court heard the pair was arrested after Hamilton Police detectives executed a search warrant at a Kent Road address on May 14 last year.

Police seized 317 cannabis plants, with a weight of more than 130 kilograms and an estimated value of $600,000, from the property, which had been fitted with false walls, hydroponic set ups, timer boards and an electrical bypass system.

The pair was arrested at the property and spent 391 days in custody.

The court heard the pair was employed as crop sitters by a crime syndicate and paid $200 per day to trim and water the plants. Nguyen’s lawyer told the court she had been employed at the crop house to repay a $300,000 debt caused by a failed business venture in Vietnam and medical expenses from her late husband’s lung cancer diagnosis.

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