CANNABIS 'GARDENER' IS SENT DOWN
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09:40 - 06 September 2007
Vietnamese national Dung Nyugen has become the sixth illegal immigrant in three days to be jailed for cultivating cannabis in Stoke-on-Trent.
The 42-year-old, of no fixed address, was given a 14-month prison sentence after admitting cultivating 253 plants at a house in Alberta Street, Dresden, for 20 days up to April 20.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday he ran a successful carpentry business in his native country, but sold up and smuggled himself into Britain to search for his abducted daughter.
He is the sixth east-Asian to be jailed for producing the class-C drug this week, after a Staffordshire Police clampdown which has seen 20 arrests for the crime this year.
Judge Paul Glenn told Nyugen: "You were not responsible for setting up the quite sophisticated operation the police found. Your counsel has described you as a gardener, but you were a gardener of a very valuable and illegal commodity. These offences have become increasingly prevalent in Stoke-on-Trent."
He added: "I have recommended you are considered for deportation, because I am satisfied that your continued presence in the UK is detrimental to the public interest."
The court heard police forced entry to the end-terrace property on April 20, and discovered cannabis being grown in four rooms.
There was also a watering system in the bathroom.
They found the electricity supply had been rigged to allow dozens of lamps to be shone on to waist-high plants.
Prosecutor Phillip Beardwell said: "The set-up was very sophisticated."
David Bentley, defending, said Nyugen, was being paid £70 a week to run the operation, to go towards searching for his lost daughter.
He said: "He is at the bottom of the hierarchy for this type of enterprise. He was desperate when he came to the country. He was living on the streets."
He added: "It is a sad case in that this man, now 42, had a business back in Vietnam and was well respected.
"He was well off because of his carpentry business. He lost his wife because of an accident and found out his daughter had been abducted, and received information she was in the UK."
Nyugen will serve up to half the sentence, minus the 137 days he has already spent on remand.
On Monday, Chinese nationals Guo-Qiang Guo, previously of Meir Park, Guo Ping Shi and Jun Zhang, formerly of Hanley, and Vietnamese Kien Trung Vu were all imprisoned for 18 months for their part in producing £94,000 of cannabis at a house on Charminster Road, Meir Park. And in a separate case, Chinese Guomei Wang, aged 27, was sentenced to 18 months for cultivating 100 cannabis plants at St Nicholas Avenue, Norton.