Man on trial over WA pot grow house

Stock image.
Stock image.

A VIETNAMESE man found with almost $375,000 in his hire car as he drove through Western Australia’s Goldfields region has gone on trial, accused of bankrolling a cannabis grow house.

Xuan Viet Cu, 34, and his passenger were pulled over by police between Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in October 2017.

Officers allegedly found bundles of cash bound by elastic bands that had his DNA on them, prosecutor Katherine Gregory told the WA District Court on Monday.

A man found with almost $375,000 in his hire car has gone on trial.

A rental car agreement signed by Cu showed the vehicle had been picked up from Perth Airport and was due to be returned to Sydney Airport four days later, while a property lease pointed detectives to a Wongan Hills address.

When the 7.2 acre (2.9 ha) rural property was searched, 315 cannabis plants were found in a sophisticated hydroponics set up, Ms Gregory said.

She said Cu financed the operation and while there was no direct evidence the cash was the proceeds of cultivating the drug, it was “the only reasonable inference available on the evidence”.

Defence counsel Henry Sklarz said the cash belonged to someone else.

“The DNA on the rubber bands will be explained,” Mr Sklarz told the jury.

He also suggested someone who drove past the property during the raid with plant nutrients in their vehicle was behind the cultivation.

“Keep an open mind until the end of these proceedings,” the lawyer said.

“Things may not be as they seem at first glance.”