A VIETNAMESE teenager arrested during a police swoop on a £45,000 Garnant cannabis factory has claimed he is the victim of a global people-trafficking ring.
Hoang Thanh Tung, aged 19, appeared before Llanelli magistrates on Thursday to admit production of the Class B drug following the raid on 130 Cwmamman Road on Tuesday, February 12.
Gerald Neave, prosecuting, described how officers found Hoang at the property with 375 cannabis plants, fertilisers and a watering system.
The crop, when harvested, would have netted up to £45,000.
Richard Morgan, defending, said Hoang had been held captive in Britain for up to two years after being smuggled into the country.
He said Hoang left Vietnam at the age of 16 and was smuggled across Asia and Europe via Russia before arriving in France. He was then hidden in the rear of a van for the ferry crossing into the UK.
“He came from Vietnam through an arrangement whereby his grandmother raised the equivalent of around £14,000 by offering her house as security to an agent who arranged his transport to Britain,” said Mr Morgan. Upon arrival in Britain Hoang lived “somewhere in the UK” with other illegal immigrants for a number of months until he was brought to Carmarthenshire.
Mr Morgan said Hoang arrived in Garnant on Tuesday, February 5, and was ordered to remain at the property to tend the plants under threat of violence.
“He was very frightened and had realistically very little choice,” said Mr Morgan.
“There was a great deal of pressure and intimidation.
“He was left there on his own and given food. He did not know what the plants were but he accepts he was involved in the production by helping tend them.”
Hoang denied a charge of abstracting electricity.
He was sent to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing and consideration of the abstraction charge. He will appear at Swansea on Friday.