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Crackdown on Perth cannabis grow houses targets Vietnamese gang members

Ten people were arrested as part of a joint operation involving WA Police, the Australian Border Force and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, in WA’s south metropolitan district earlier this year. Picture: WA Police

The “faceless” bosses of a Vietnamese organised crime gang were being sent hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in profits from an epidemic of cannabis grow houses positioned all over Perth, court documents have revealed.

Taskforce Silverdrift was set up by WA Police in mid-2017 to target the dozens of cannabis “grow houses” multiplying across Perth and beyond, run by crime gangs in the Eastern States and overseas.

Since then, tonnes of dope, thousands of plants and millions of dollars in cash have been seized and frozen.

And an investigation by The Weekend West can now reveal the unsophisticated but effective method that had the money laundered to Vietnam, which is also where dozens of people have been recruited to travel to Australia to facilitate the multimillion-dollar industry.

This year, an average of one Vietnamese operative has been jailed every week by the District Court.

And while most of them have been “crop sitters” — lowly operatives who feed and water the massive cannabis yields — WA Police has also caught some of the organisers.

One of those was Xuan Dao, who along with his wife and other workers, were responsible for at least seven grow houses, in Dianella, Morley, Westminster, Bull Creek and Coolbinia.

Dao was also entrusted with funnelling money offshore. In just one month, between April and May 2017, $590,000 was sent overseas.

“You were the person in this syndicate trusted by the other members to look after the profit and to move the profit offshore, albeit that you were not doing that alone,” Judge Hylton Quail said, as he jailed Dao for 61/2 years last month.

A court was told another man, Hoang Huynh Vuong, was suspected of being Dao’s “laundry man”, receiving the Australian money into his account and then distributing equivalent amounts of Vietnamese dong overseas to Dao’s family — after taking a cut himself.

Vietnamese national Vuong, and his partner Thi Anh Thu Dang, were originally charged with Commonwealth proceeds of crime offences, while just over $1 million cash held in their bank accounts was frozen.

Prosecutors have now dropped the charges against them both.

However, an attempt by them to buy a million dollar property in Tuart Street, Yokine, was blocked by the Australian Taxation Office after they ruled it would be “contrary to the national interest” under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers act. Originally published here:

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