A MAN who was found with almost 300 cannabis plants in Rochester has been jailed for more than two years.
Vinh Quang Bui, 29, was sentenced in the County Court on Friday after he pleaded guilty to two counts of cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis.
Court documents provided to the Bendigo Advertiser said police searched an Epping property, in Melbourne's north, on November 20, 2019.
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At the property, detectives found 175 cannabis plants weighing at 129.35 kilograms.
There was also hydroponic equipment and an illegal electrical bypass at the house.
The documents said there was no one at the property at the time of the search warrant, but Bui's DNA evidence was found on items in the house.
Detectives then searched a property in Rochester on April 22 last year.
After forcing entry, police found a hydroponic set-up in six rooms on the property and an illegal electrical bypass.
There were also 292 cannabis plants weighing at 76.70 kilograms.
The documents said Bui, who was at the property at the time, tried to flee through a kitchen window and over a neighbour's fence.
Officers arrested Bui after they found him hiding in the bushes of the neighbour's front yard.
Defence counsel Malcolm Thomas told the court earlier this month that Bui became involved in the cultivation operation because he had a debt he needed to pay off.
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Mr Thomas said Bui was at the "bottom of the chain" and he was a worker who was "utilised" by the other offenders.
Judge Duncan Allen said he accepted Bui was only a low-level "minder" in the operation and he had "no financial stake in the crop".
Judge Allen said he also accepted Bui became "ensnared" in the operation because he owed money to people.
The judge said he took into consideration Bui's remorse, his good prospects of rehabilitation, and the impact his likely deportation would have on both himself and his family.
Bui was convicted and jailed for two years and six months, with a non-parole period of 18 months. His 388 days in pre-sentence detention were reckoned as already served.
Judge Allen said if Bui had not pleaded guilty, he would have been jailed for three years with a non-parole period of two years.
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