Cannabis growers lose their home

4:03PM Thursday Feb 19, 2009

A family has lost its Christchurch home for a cannabis operation that the police say would have been a nice little earner.
Police estimated that the operation - at this house as well as a second property - could have earned the Vietnamese migrant family $250,000 a year, Christchurch Court News reported.
The father, Huyan Van Tran, was last year jailed for three years for cultivating cannabis and his wife, Suong Tuyet Vo, got 220 hours of community work for knowingly permitting the premises to be used for the drug offences.
The charges followed a police search that uncovered 143 cannabis plans growing in a sophisticated operation.
Since then, the Solicitor-General - represented by Kerryn Beaton at today's hearing - has filed papers seeking forfeiture of the property and the order was granted by Judge Michael Crosbie in the Christchurch District Court today.
The family, represented by defence counsel Jonathan Eaton, did not oppose the application.
The property is at 438 Barrington and has been in the custody and control of the Official Assignee for some time, while under restraint under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The house is valued at $235,000 and there is a $147,406 mortgage on it.

It was due for mortgagee sale by auction on February 27.
Judge Crosbie said it was clear that the property was "tainted" through being used for cultivating and selling cannabis.
He ordered it be forfeited, the mortgage repaid from the proceeds of the sale, and the balance paid to the Official Assignee.
An issue of the family's legal expenses and costs remains unsettled and may involve further discussion.
Judge Crosbie noted that the family did not say there was undue hardship arising from the forfeiture.

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