One industry source described the district’s gardeners as a proud, hard-working community stunned by the charging of Carabooda farmers Michael and Canh Le, of TLF Exports, with keeping unlawful foreigner workers and dealing in the proceeds of crime.
‘The market garden community take pride in what they do, in their growing,’ the source said of the industry Wanneroo had been ‘built on’.
‘It’s just unfortunate what’s happened. Everyone was surprised about it.’
He said police had been checking on other market gardens for illegal workers after the raid on TLF Exports.
‘No-one really knows what’s going on,’ he said.
‘And the community is shocked because the Le family has lived in the area for a long time without seeming to bother anyone in the gardening industry.’
He said the Carabooda business was the biggest tomato grower in WA, with hundreds of thousands of plants.
A prominent market gardener agreed it had been a shock to the community.
‘I have met the brothers a couple of times and been to the farm,’ the gardener said.
The local season is coming to a close at the end of the month, and tomatoes remain unpicked and crates empty at the Safari Place property.
The Weekender called TLF Exports and a woman said no-one was available to comment.
Neighbouring businesses also would not be drawn into commenting.