– Victoria’s director of Public Prosecutions has declared his intention to act severely against the organisers of large-scale, syndicate-based marijuana crop houses.
DPP John Champion, SC, has signalled the tougher stand by uplifting a case against a senior syndicate member to the Supreme Court.
Van Hung Nguyen, 41, had been committed to the County Court, but Mr Champion, with junior counsel Michelle Zammit, recently acted to move the prosecution to the higher jurisdiction.
The DPP can choose where to file an indictment and cases have been uplifted at the end of a committal hearing in the Magistrates Court. But Nguyen’s matter is unusual in that he was awaiting a County Court hearing when Mr a Champion acted.
When he appeared before Justice Elizabeth Curtain he pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivating a large commercial quantity of marijuana. It has a maximum sentence of life Imprisonment.
Mr Champion said thee had been an increase in the prevalence of marijuana crop houses in Victoria in recent years.
Nguyen was arrested last April when 250 police raided properties across Brimbank, Melton, Wyndham and Hume in smashing one of Victoria’s largest cultivation syndicates with an estimated value of $29 million. The Age reported the seven-month investigation, code-named, Permute, had revealed an alleged organised crime syndicate with links to Vietnam.
It is believed Nguyen is the highest-ranking syndicate member yet caught in several unrelated operations in recent years that have targeted the lucrative hydroponic crop industry.
The charge, he has admitted, relates to offending from September 2011, and involves multiple houses and thousands of plants.
In Operation Entity, 43 people were arrested in November 2010 when hundreds of police executed dawn raids, seizing more than 8000 plants from 68 properties.
In prosecutions so far from Permute, all 14 offenders have received immediate jail terms.
Most of the defendants were found to be illegal immigrants who had overstayed student or travel visas and then had fallen into debt.
Judges have heard a familiar story how these vulnerable offenders fell prey to syndicate members and succumbed to financial offers to become crop sitters.
The Age reported in October that two Vietnamese refugees rescued by the Australian navy near Christmas Island later escaped from immigration detention in Victoria to cultivate a large crop in a suburban house.
Nguyen was remanded in custody to appear for a plea hearing in April – Steve Butcher


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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