Jail for man lured from Vietnam to grow drugs at Derby cannabis factory
A VIETNAMESE man lured to the UK on pretences of a well-paid and legitimate job has now been jailed for growing cannabis.
Chung Le's fingerprints were found on growing equipment at a cannabis factory, containing hundreds of plants, in Derby.
The 31-year-old, who was arrested in London, said he had worked at the illegal operation in the two flats in Belgrave Street for one month, at which time there had only been 100 plants.
Derby Crown Court heard that Le had been approached by a group of men while he was working as a rice farmer in Vietnam who offered to take him to the UK so that he could earn "good money" to send back home.
Le, who has a wife, a five-year-old son and an ill mother, paid "a substantial amount of money" for this package, said Justin Ablott, in mitigation.
He added: "The package sold to him back in Vietnam was a world away from the reality of the situation to which he arrived in this country."
Jailing Le, of no fixed address, for seven months, Judge John Gosling said: "I, and other judges, have seen many incidents of people in your position, coming over to this city in the hope of getting work and they ended up doing the dirty work of commercial cannabis growers.
"I have no doubt you received little or no reward for this substantial operation."
Sarah Allen, prosecuting, said police raided the Derby factory on July 31 last year and 755 plants in total being grown in two flats under heat lamps and lights. The walls and windows were lined with reflectors, there were ventilation ducts and the electricity had been bypassed.
Le's fingerprints were found on the reflectors.
Mr Ablott said: "At the outset he wasn't told it was an illegal production of a controlled drug but it became apparent to him that it wasn't a legitimate enterprise."
He said that after Le discovered it was illegal, he was very uncomfortable with remaining there and told his bosses he wanted to leave.
"But this was met with threats of significant violence," said Mr Ablott.
"Despite the threats he left the property of his own volition and managed to get to London and has been working in a restaurant."
Le, who admitted producing a controlled drug of class B, will be deported to Vietnam at the end of his sentence.