Marijuana is often grown under lights in rented houses in Australia. Photo: Getty Images

A Vietnamese woman has been charged with running a drug syndicate in Newcastle, Australia. Nail and beauty salon owner Nga White, 44, appeared in court on November 8, The Newcastle Herald reported.

During her arraignment, she pleaded not guilty to charges of directing a criminal group, cultivating cannabis for commercial use, supplying a commercial volume of cannabis as well as supplying a prohibited drug.

On March 4, 2017, authorities found a receipt linked to White’s salon at a cannabis dump site, from which they started investigating her and found that she had owned or leased at least eight properties in the region.

From April to August 2017, surveillance conducted by police found seven persons of interest (POI) – six of who had entered the country illegally. Three of the POIs were arrested with 18 kilograms of cannabis. Police subsequently raided a house and arrested White later that day.

Her trial is set to take place over four weeks in September next year. Jude Roy Ellis pointed out the trial would see the state attempt to prove the defendant’s link to the cannabis plants found at her salon.

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