A man and woman have been sentenced to jail after police discovered 132 cannabis plants at a Werribee house last year.
In the County Court last month, Cuong Thanh Nguyen, 25, pleaded guilty to one charge of cultivating cannabis not less than a commercial quantity.
The court heard Nguyen was living in Treeve Street when he helped set up and maintain a cannabis crop between August 28 and November 6 last year.
Police executed a warrant at the house and found Nguyen and a woman, Anh Thi Duong living there.
Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, had overstayed his visa and was remanded in custody after being arrested.
The court heard that Nguyen was motivated to help maintain the cannabis crop to help his older brother repay a gambling debt.
Judge Christopher Ryan sentenced Nguyen to three years imprisonment with a minimum of two years before being eligible for parole.
Judge Ryan said it was “inevitable” that Nguyen would be deported from Australia after serving his sentence.
In a separate hearing last month – also presided over by Judge Ryan – Duong, 27, pleaded guilty to possessing a drug of dependence.
Judge Ryan said that Duong had no part in setting up the cannabis crop, but she had lived at the property with Nguyen “in order to provide to the outside world a sense of normality about that residence”.
The court heard that Duong, who has two children, was left with no source of income and lost her rental accommodation after her husband was sentenced to three years jail in 2016.
A “ubiquitous stranger” had approached Duong and offered her the chance to live at the Werribee house before the cannabis crop was set up there.
Judge Ryan sentenced Duong to 18 months jail with a non-parole period of 12 months. Nguyen and Duong have both spent 234 days in pre-sentence detention while awaiting trials.