A WODONGA man involved in the cultivation of two large cannabis crops at Tawonga in 2010 was yesterday jailed for six months with a further 30-month jail term suspended for three years.
Valentino Francioli, 24, appeared in the County Court at Wodonga for sentencing on one count of cultivating more than a commercial quantity of cannabis between November 2009 and March the following year.
Three cannabis crops were found close to the family farm by police and after surveillance for some time officers were involved in a raid.
Francioli’s older brothers, Polibio and Giampetro, were charged with cultivating cannabis in August.
A statement was made to police by Valentino Francioli in July 2011 to exonerate Giampetro who police believed they had photographed in a crop.
In a police interview 12 months later, Valentino admitted growing the plants from seedlings and took responsibility for two crops.
One had 26 active plants, which weighed 96.38 kilograms, and the other crop was 29 plants, weighing 58.64 kilograms. There were watering systems and it appeared fertiliser had been applied.
Polibio Francioli pleaded guilty to cultivating the third crop near a dam and was jailed for a minimum of two years when sentenced in the County Court at Wodonga last year.
Judge Michael Bourke said yesterday the threshold for a commercial quantity of cannabis was 25 kilograms. He said Valentino Francioli had cultivated about 150 kilograms.
Judge Bourke said Polibio Francioli had previous drug convictions and a substantial criminal record.
“I find that you were influenced by him,” Judge Bourke told Valentino, who was 20 at the time.
Valentino is the second youngest of 11 children, his mother died when he was eight and at 13 his brother Peter was murdered.
Judge Bourke said he had been affected by the tragedies.
“You own a pizza business in Wodonga and employ five people,” Judge Bourke said.
“This is serious offending.
“The size of these crops was excessively over the commercial threshold.”
But he said Valentino has no previous convictions.
Giampetro Francioli was involved in a trial in Wodonga which finished on September 3 when the prosecution offered no further evidence.
The jury was discharged and he was found not guilty.