A Vietnamese man who ran a cannabis grow house with his cousin in Western Australia and claimed they were driving east to buy milk powder when found with almost $380,000 in cash has been jailed for four years and five months.
Xuan Viet Cu went on trial in the District Court of WA last week, accused of organising and financing the operation, and was found guilty on Monday.
The court heard the 34-year-old and Van Thanh Cu were pulled over in Coolgardie in October 2017 after being surveilled by police.
Bundles of cash were found hidden under the rear seat of their hire car and a lease for a property led detectives to a sophisticated hydroponics set up in Wongan Hills, where there were more than 300 cannabis plants.
Xuan Viet Cu's DNA was on rubber bands that had been used to bundle the cash.
While he denied he knew the money was in the car, he also claimed he was driving with his cousin to Melbourne to buy milk powder to help him with his export business.
"Not surprisingly, the jury entirely rejected your story," Judge Hilton Quail said on Tuesday.
He said the cousins blamed each other but it was a joint enterprise.
Judge Quail said Cu was an intelligent young man who came from a well-off family but wanted to show them he could make it on his own.
He "went about it in completely the wrong way", the judge said.
"You're capable of doing something worthwhile in the future and I hope that this mad scheme was just an aberration on your part," Judge Quail said.
Xuan Viet Cu will be eligible for parole after serving two years and five months behind bars.
Van Thanh Cu was previously sentenced to three-years-and-six-months imprisonment, with parole eligibility, after getting a discount for pleading guilty.