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Court hears of possible trafficking as Vietnamese woman to plead guilty in €1 million grow house case

More than 500 cannabis plants at various growth stages were found at the 16-bedroomed property on 31 May last year.

Ennis courthouse.
Ennis courthouse.
Image: Google Maps

A 32-YEAR-old Vietnamese woman is to plead guilty to her role in the operation of a grow house at a luxury lakeside home involving drugs having an estimated street value of close to €1 million.

At Ennis Circuit Court, counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL told Judge Gerald Keys that there has been an early plea in the case by the accused, Thuy Thi Nguyen.

Thi Nguyen is to formally enter her plea next Tuesday and Judge Keys said that Nguyen “should be entitled to priority as she is in a strange country”.

Connolly agreed: “She is entitled to priority in having her case dealt early due to the early plea and she is in custody on this alone.”

Counsel for Nyugen, Pat Whyms BL stated solicitor for Ms Thi Nyugen, John Casey required technology to be able to translate her instructions before court after an interpreter was not available.

Casey has already told the district court that there may be an element of people trafficking in the case.

Mr Casey said that the estimated value of the drugs by the State is close to €1 million.

In the case, Ms Thi Nguyen of no fixed abode is charged in connection with the discovery of an industrial-sized cannabis grow house at the Victorian mansion, Tinarana House on the shores of Lough Derg near Killaloe in east Clare in May.

More than 500 cannabis plants at various growth stages were found at the 16-bedroomed property on 31 May last year.

Thi Nguyen has been remanded in custody at the female unit of Limerick prison since her first appearance in court on 2 June.

The operation which resulted in the arrest of Thi Nguyen and the discovery of the drugs involved members of the Clare Divisional Drugs Unit, local uniform and plainclothes Gardaí, the Western Region Armed Support Unit and the Cork Garda Dog Unit including the unit’s dog, Laser.

At Nguyen’s first court in June, Det Garda Seamus Doyle of Kildare Garda Station told that when Nguyen was charged with the offence, she replied: “I feel upset and scared because they forced me to do it.”

Ms Nguyen is charged with cultivating without a licence cannabis plants at Tinarana House on May 31st last contrary to Section 17 of the Mis-use of Drugs Act. 

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Gordon Deegan

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