Five Foreigners Jailed for Working on Huge Cannabis Farm in Kokeby

Five men who came to Australia in search of a better life have been sentenced to prison for working on one of the largest cannabis cultivation operations in WA history. The men, who were living in Melbourne, were flown to Perth and taken to a rural property in Kokeby, near Beverley, where they tended to more than 2,000 cannabis plants worth almost $6 million.

The cannabis operation was uncovered by WA Police on January 5, 2023, after they received a tip-off from a member of the public. Police raided the property and found 2,023 cannabis plants and 132 kilograms of cannabis head, with an estimated street value of $5.8 million. Police also seized a large amount of cash, equipment, and chemicals.

Police bodycam footage showed the sophistication of the operation, which involved a complex irrigation system, generators, and greenhouses. Police also found the five men living in a caravan on the property, where they had been working for several months.

The men were arrested and charged with cultivating a prohibited plant with intent to sell or supply, and possessing a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply. They pleaded guilty to the charges and appeared in the Narrogin District Court on February 5, 2024, for sentencing.

The Sentences Handed Down by the Judge

The judge who presided over the case, Judge Michael Bowden, said the men were part of a “large-scale commercial enterprise” that was “highly organised and sophisticated”. He said the men were not the masterminds of the operation, but were “low-level workers” who were recruited and paid by others.

The judge said the men came to Australia from Vietnam, China, and Malaysia, and had various personal and financial difficulties. He said the men were offered the opportunity to work on the cannabis farm by a man named Tony, who paid for their flights, accommodation, and wages. The judge said the men were unaware of the scale and illegality of the operation, and were “naive and gullible”.

The judge sentenced the men to different terms of imprisonment, ranging from two years and six months to three years and nine months. The sentences were based on the roles and involvement of each man, as well as their personal circumstances and prospects of rehabilitation. The judge also ordered the men to be eligible for parole after serving half of their sentences.

The Impact of the Cannabis Operation on the Community

The cannabis operation in Kokeby has caused concern and outrage among the local community, who were unaware of the illegal activity happening in their backyard. The Wheatbelt town, which has a population of about 200 people, is known for its farming and tourism industries, and not for its drug trade.

The president of the Beverley Shire Council, Cr Don Davis, said the cannabis operation was a “shock” and a “disgrace” to the community. He said the council was working with the police and the landowner to ensure the property was cleaned up and restored to its original condition. He also urged the public to report any suspicious activity to the police.

The police have praised the public for their assistance in the investigation, and have appealed for more information on the identity and whereabouts of Tony, the man who allegedly hired and paid the five men. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at

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