Prosecutors allege Khanh Nhat Bui was the “principal member” of a crime gang of which 18 others have also been charged.
Prosecutors allege Khanh Nhat Bui was the “principal member” of a crime gang of which 18 others have also been charged.

Farmer ‘made many millions’ as drug kingpin, court told

A BRISBANE market gardener accused of making "many, many millions of dollars" from his alleged secret life as a cannabis kingpin and serious criminal gang-member, has been granted bail on $100,000 surety.

Lawyers for Khanh Nhat Bui, from Inala, were in the Supreme Court in Brisbane this morning before Justice Ann Lyons where prosecutors alleged Mr Bui was the "principal member" of a Vietnamese crime gang of which 18 others have also been charged.

Prosecutors alleged that police have fingerprint, CCTV footage and documents linking Mr Bui to running a business of six grow-houses in and around Andrews Road in Greenbank in Brisbane's south for at least three years.

The grow houses are nearby to Mr Bui's farm, prosecutors told the court.

On October 30 Mr Bui was charged with trafficking in cannabis with an aggravated circumstance of serious organised crime, which means that if convicted he faces a mandatory seven year prison term.Mr Bui has been in custody since November 4 when he was charged with five counts of producing drugs, the court heard.

Khanh Nhat Bui has been released on bail.
Khanh Nhat Bui has been released on bail.

The prosecution told the court that Mr Bui's fingerprint had allegedly been found on a cheque he signed to pay for a coolroom, and Mr Bui was twice seen on CCTV at a cannabis "grow house". He is alleged to have "told lies" in relation to the purchase of the cool-room, the court heard.

Prosecutors argued that Mr Bui generated "a substantial income" from the cannabis grow houses, that Justice Lyons said prosecution documents alleged amounted to "many, many millions" of dollars.

Police have not found the alleged criminal proceeds, but alleged Mr Bui could have hidden it as part of a plan to use it to fund his escape overseas, the court heard.

Prosecutors submitted to the court that Mr Bui should be forced to wear an ankle bracelet tracking device to prevent him from fleeing while on bail, perhaps by boat since he doesn't have a valid passport.

Jeffrey Hunter QC, counsel for Mr Bui, told the court that Mr Bui was a farmer who starts work at 5am.

He argued the prosecution's request that Mr Bui wear a tracking device was "overkill" as he had substantial ties to south-east Queensland including family and a property portfolio.

Mr Bui has a criminal record including two convictions for drug possession in 2001 and 2004 and one conviction for possession of a knife, which he unsuccessfully argued was a "farming implement".

The prosecution brief of evidence will be complete within one month, the court was told.

As part of his strict conditions of release on bail, Mr Bui must have his family put up $100,000 surety, he must live at his home on Abelia St in Inala, surrender his passport, report to Inala police three times a week and must be at home between 9pm and 5am.

He is banned from leaving Australia, or Queensland without the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Bui was targeted as part of a lengthy Queensland Police operation targeting Vietnamese drug traffickers, the court heard.

His case is due back in the Brisbane Magistrates Court next month.