Five members of a gang that operated multi-million pound cannabis grows in Lincoln and Middlesbrough have been jailed for a total of 22 years.
The group had rented properties on Euston Close, Grafton Street, Drake Street and Monks Road in Lincoln to grow cannabis inside, as well as one on Lambeth Road in Middlesbrough, between November 2017 and 2019.
These cannabis grows were recovered by police, and the plants amounted to a street value of almost £1 million.
It was thought that the properties had the capacity to be producing up to £3 million of cannabis every year.
Thuy Phan, 30, and Thai Phong Han, 28, both of Lime Crescent in Lincoln, were arrested on January 18, when they were driving into Lincoln.
Police stopped the vehicle and found a bag containing £14,625 in cash in the back of the vehicle.
As investigations took place, it was discovered that Thuy Phan was in control of over 30 bank accounts, belonging mainly to Vietnamese students living in the UK.
She had paid these students to have access to their bank accounts, and it was found that Phan’s accounts had a turnover of £2.3 million, which was all laundered back to Vietnam.
Both Phan and Han were charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis and possession of criminal property, but Phan was also charged with conversion and transferring of criminal property.
Phan was jailed for six years and nine months, and Han was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Officers continued their inquiries and eventually found three men from London who were working with Thuy Phan and Thai Han.
Moinul Islam and Ziaur Rahman, two of the men, were arrested on July 22, 2019 and large quantities of drugs and cash were found at Rahman’s home.
Cannabis, over £20,000 in cash, and high purity cocaine with a £40,000 street value were found at the address in London.
Islam, 42, of Mill Bridge Place, Hillingdon, London, was jailed for three and a half years after breaching a serious crime prevention order and being charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Rahman, 33, of Frays Way, Hillingdon, London, was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail.
The third man from London, Ahmad Muslim, was arrested on September 8, 2019 in connection with renting a van for Rahman which was used to transport cannabis equipment to Lincoln.
Ahman Muslim, 35, of Halsway in Hillingdon, London, will be sentenced at a later date.
Finally, Phi Hung Nguyen, 27, of Lambeth Road, Middlesbrough was arrested on November 14, 2019 when a key to his cannabis grow was found by officers on his key ring.
Four of the five sentenced defendants pleaded guilty to their charges, except for Nguyen who was found guilty on March 4 and jailed for five years.
Detective Constable James Brown from the Serious & Organised Crime Unit at Lincolnshire Police says: “This case highlights the other types of criminality that can be involved in cannabis operations including exploiting others.
“We will robustly tackle any offences linked to organised crime and where necessary, pursue offenders across the country.
“I have no doubts that this criminality would have continued to grow had the operation been able to continue.”