A Vietnamese refugee caught running a million-dollar indoor cannabis operation, in which he stole $26,000 worth of electricity to heat and light the rental houses where he was growing the drug, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Van Huy Bui, 34, was convicted earlier this year after a trial in the Auckland District Court on multiple charges of cultivating and selling cannabis, possession of methamphetamine and theft.
In December 2008, police discovered he and associate Binh Van Le had converted houses into commercial-scale cannabis-growing sites with an annual harvest worth between $800,000 and $1 million.
Bui was caught after anonymous handwritten letters were sent to the police, claiming knowledge of an illegal drug operation.
Police went to the Glenfield address mentioned in the letter and uncovered the operation. In the house they found more than 100 cannabis plants in buckets growing under suspended artificial light sources. They also found seedlings in growing trays.
The property was fitted with a massive array of transformer lights, fans, filters and irrigation equipment, all run from an unmetered power cable. Police found a similar operation at a second North Shore property rented by Bui and Le.
Bui was sentenced in the Auckland District Court this morning.