Cloverdale pot grower gets one year in jail

NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to running a large marijuana growop out of his Cloverdale house has been sentenced to one year in jail followed by a year of probation.

Justice Robert Jenkins sentenced Van Hoach Pham, 34, on Friday, at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Jenkins also imposed a forfeiture order covering any property that had been seized at the residence.

The court heard Pham had immigrated to Canada in 2000, is married and has two daughters.

He pleaded guilty to growing marijuana, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. He had also been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity from B.C. Hydro, but under his plea agreement the facts supporting these charges were considered only as aggravating factors in sentencing him on the production charge.

If the offences had been committed after Nov. 6, 2012, Pham would have been subject to two years minimum in jail on the growing offence and would have faced a mandatory three-year minimum jail sentence for fire hazard implications related to the hydro bypass and electricity theft.

Police raided Pham’s house, on 60th Avenue, on March 29, 2012, seizing 1,206 plants and 12 pounds of dried pot. The court heard the latter was worth up to $26,400 and had the plants been raised to maturity, they would have yielded more than 71 pounds of pot worth up to $156,860.

Four days after the police raid, Pham abruptly sold the house for $450,000, roughly $161,000 below the assessed value. The Director of Civil Forfeiture commenced proceedings against Pham and the new owner in April of 2012 but abandoned the pursuit a year and a half later because the director was unable to find Pham to serve him with a notice of civil forfeiture.

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com