Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two big-time pot farmers get five years

TAMPA — Two Vietnamese immigrants received mandatory five-year sentences Thursday for operating what Hernando County officials described earlier this year as one of the largest marijuana grow house operations in recent history.

A third immigrant who dated one of the men received an 18-month prison sentence for failing to tell authorities what was happening.

Hung Phi Dinh, 32, was also fined $2,000. Attorneys said he recruited his brother, Lam Dinh, 38, to provide nighttime security at an upscale Brooksville home at 8264 Nightwalker Road, which they used to grow the plants. The Dinh brothers also must serve four years of supervised release once they're out of prison.

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. ordered them into the immediate custody of federal marshals.

Kim Nhung Nguyen, 33, was allowed to remain free until a surrender date is set. She must serve a year's supervised release when she's done with her sentence. She faced as much as three years.

All three defendants live in Hillsborough County, and each pleaded guilty.

Authorities arrested the trio in February after serving a search warrant at the $400,000 home on Nightwalker Road. Federal and local agents recovered 695 marijuana plants.

Daniel McDonough, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, testified at the sentencing that an anonymous tip led them to the defendants.

Someone called to say that proceeds from marijuana grown at the home were funding a gang in Vietnam and that large cash deposits were also being sent to Canada. On defense cross-examination, McDonough said investigators found no evidence that money was being sent to Vietnam to support a gang.

The agent also said none of the defendants ever told who set up the grow house or how it was funded. Authorities said they thought the group had ties to a nearby grow house at 15234 Morgan Lane.

Officials arrested two other men in connection to the Morgan Lane house.

Kevin Graham can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Two big-time pot farmers get five years 10/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]