A Vietnamese man has been sentenced to five years in jail for cultivating cannabis and stealing electricity.
Ngoc Tuyen Nguyen, 28, turned six rental properties in several suburbs of Perth city, Western Australia into cannabis houses in 2016 and 2017, The West Australian reported Monday.
Nguyen and his accomplices also interfered with the properties’ power meters to steal about $151,000 worth of electricity.
Australian police found 569 cannabis plants worth around $750,000 last year in the six properties.
Nguyen pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including “cultivating cannabis with intent to sell and supply” and “fraudulent use of power.” He faces deportation after he’s released from prison.
“These types of cannabis growing operations in residential areas pose a significant risk to the community,” said Judge Michael Gething of the District Court of Western Australia.
He ordered Nguyen’s sentence backdated to July last year.
Nguyen came to Australia in 2007 to study English, and has overstayed his visa.
Australia is fairly relaxed about cannabis use. In February 2016 the Federal Government passed laws to legalize medicinal cannabis to treat patients with painful and chronic conditions with products imported from overseas.
It has also given the green light for licensed companies to legally import, store and sell the drug until domestic production meets local needs.
But cannabis is still illegal in Vietnam, and its cultivation is punishable by up to seven years in jail.