A MAN who cultivated hundreds of cannabis plants in a Rochester property has been jailed for more than three years.
Anh Tran, 26, was sentenced in the County Court this week after pleading guilty to one charge of cultivating a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant.
The court heard police raided a property in Rochester on June 16 last year and found 221 cannabis plants weighing at 197.7 kilograms.
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The commercial quantity is defined as 100 plants or 25 kilograms.
The court heard there was a sophisticated hydroponic set up across six rooms and three outside sheds at the property.
Tran was apprehended at the house during the police raid.
The 26-year-old had been living in the Melbourne suburb of St Albans at the time, but data from his mobile phone showed he had been in Rochester on 14 occasions between May 18 and June 16.
The court heard two vehicles registered to Tran were parked outside the property during the raid.
In one of the cars was a wallet, which contained handwritten Vietnamese instructions on how to cultivate cannabis.
Judge Michael McInerney said while the prosecution noted Tran's role in the operation was a "crop-sitter", any level of involvement required a heavy penalty.
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The judge noted the maximum sentence for the offence was 25 years in jail, which showed the seriousness of the charge.
Judge McInerney said he took into account Tran's early plea, his no prior convictions, and the fact he was likely to face deportation when released from prison.
But the judge said a jail term was "virtually unavoidable".
Tran was convicted and jailed for three years and six months, with a non-parole period of two years. His 44 days in pre-sentence detention were reckoned as already served.
Judge McInerney said if Tran did not plead guilty, he would have been jailed for five years and six months, with a non-parole period of three years and six months.
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