Cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £1 million were seized from two empty restaurants being used as production factories.
Officers seized 629 plants from Moonlight Balti in Tipton, last November. A further 500 plants were then discovered at premises in Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, in May.
Vietnamese nationals Ha Le, 40, and Dung Trinh, 29, were yesterday jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their roles. Le admitted two offences of production of cannabis and was sentenced to two years in prison on each count to run concurrently.
While Trinh was sentenced to 16 months after admitting one offence of production of cannabis.
Le and Trinh, both of no fixed address were arrested as they fled the scene of a police raid at the Shrewsbury restaurant in May.
Mr Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told the court the first haul was discovered at the premises in Great Bridge during a raid on November 26 last year.
“On the first and second floor police officers found a large scale cannabis factory. The tenant at the restaurant Jahadur Rohman has since pleaded guilty to permitting the production and received a 20-week sentence suspended for two years.
“Le was linked to it from a seized toothbrush which provided a DNA match. He says he was there for three days and was the ‘gardener’ – he was not apprehended at the time.”
Mr Jones added that each haul had been estimated to be worth £500,000.
Mr Andrew Holland, for both men, told the court: “Both had co-operated fully with the police about their involvement in the Shrewsbury case. Both are illegal immigrants and will be deported.”
Judge Philip Parker told the men: “These were very professional operations, but it is accepted that your part was limited.”
He said they must serve at least half their sentence and he ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the plants and equipment.