Two Vietnamese men have been jailed for their involvement in grow houses in Sebastopol and Wendouree.
The product (cannabis) itself is a dangerous product particularly for people who have mental health issues.
The pair were sentenced at the County Court in Ballarat on Wednesday after pleading guilty to cultivating cannabis charges.
Van Nguyen received four years behind bars with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years, while co-accused Duk Nguyen was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail with a non-parole period of one-and-a-half years.
In sentencing the pair, Judge James Montgomery said the offending was serious. He said there was no evidence who planted the crops. He said there needed to be “a sentence sufficient to deter others who want to be involved in this cannabis enterprise”.
“The product itself is a dangerous product particularly if people who have mental health issues,” Judge Montgomery said.
“It’s a serious example of this type of offending.”
The court was told a house in Mountview Drive, Sebastopol, and another in Maple Avenue, Wendouree, were used to grow the cannabis.
Van Nguyen was the owner of the Wendouree house, where 359 cannabis plants were growing. The house was set up with a hydroponic system and had been structurally altered to make more space for the cultivation, the court was told.
Van Nguyen’s step-daughter was the owner of the Sebastopol house, Judge Montgomery said.
“You would have been aware the property at Sebastopol was owned by your step-daughter,” he said.
“Because of these matters, I find your role was a greater one than your co-accused.”
Judge Montgomery said Duk Nguyen attended both properties as the crop sitter. The court was told the police investigation started in Wendouree in June, 2016, while police started patrolling the Sebastopol area in August, 2016. Van Nguyen and Duk Nguyen each pleaded guilty to two charges of cultivating cannabis. They have already served 243 days in custody.