Pair jailed after £100,000 cannabis farm found in South Tyneside during police operation

Two men have been jailed and face deportation after a £100,000 cannabis farm was raided during a police surveillance operation.
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Undercover officers saw Thiet Bui, 49, and another man carrying bags containing ten kilos of cannabis, worth £50,000 away from a house at Red House Road in Hebburn.

Police raided the property, that had been converted into a commercial scale cannabis farm containing 130 plants capable of producing another £50,000 of the class B drug and Toan Nguyen, 34, was arrested inside.

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Bui, aka Le Minh, who has a previous conviction for cannabis production, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Toan Nguyen (left) and (right) Thiet Bui, aka Le MinhToan Nguyen (left) and (right) Thiet Bui, aka Le Minh
Toan Nguyen (left) and (right) Thiet Bui, aka Le Minh

Nguyen, who has no criminal record in the UK, admitted producing the drug.

At Newcastle Crown Court Judge Sarah Mallett jailed Bui for 14 months and Nguyen for 18 months.

The judge told the men, who are both Vietnamese nationals: "You are both in a similar position in relation to the operation as a whole.

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"You both have no right to remain in this country and will be deported on release."

Toan NguyenToan Nguyen
Toan Nguyen

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court police had been carrying out surveillance on January 16 and saw Bui leaving the rear of the property at Red House Road in an Audi motor.

Miss Dowling told the court: "Mr Bui was with another gentleman, carrying bags which were later found to contain cannabis.

"They left the area in the vehicle and were followed by the police to an address in Jarrow. They were detained at that address."

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Miss Dowling said the bags contained ten kilos of skunk cannabis and would have been worth £50,000 on the streets.

Thiet Bui, aka Le MinhThiet Bui, aka Le Minh
Thiet Bui, aka Le Minh

The court heard the police went back to the Red House Road address and Miss Dowling added: "It was in that property that Mr Nguyen was found, together with an operational cannabis farm.

"There were 130 mature plants, some seedlings and evidence of previous cropping."

Miss Dowling said the cannabis Bui was carrying was "clearly for onward supply" and the farm Nguyen was found in was "capable of commercial use".

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Gavin Doig, defending, said Bui is in poor health and has severe asthma and added: "He is anxious to serve his sentence and return home as soon as possible."

Joe Culley, defending Nguyen, said: "He wishes to return to Vietnam as soon as possible.

"The sooner he is in a position to be released and deportation is manageable the better for him and the public.

"He had a limited function. He was cog working with other cogs."

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