potlede.jpgA Berkeley man has been sentenced in federal court in San Francisco to 15 years in prison for leading a conspiracy to cultivate marijuana in East Bay grow houses.

Huy Trinh, 45, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on Friday.

He pleaded guilty before Illston in March to one count of conspiring to grow more than 1,000 marijuana plants and one count of possessing a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the case against Trinh stemmed from search warrants executed in 2010 at six alleged indoor marijuana grow houses in the East Bay.

She said agents found 1,198 marijuana plants at three of the sites, including 198 at the home Trinh shared with his wife, Lan Jin, in Berkeley, and 623 at the residence of a co-defendant, Andy Wong, 50, in Oakland.

Agents also found 5 pounds of processed marijuana and a gun at Trinh’s house, Haag said.

Trinh’s 15-year sentence was agreed to by prosecution and defense lawyers in his plea agreement and was the mandatory minimum penalty under federal law for the two crimes.

Illston also ordered him to pay $74,000 in restitution to PG&E for the cost of electricity stolen from the utility to grow the marijuana.

Wong and Jin previously pleaded guilty to related charges and were sentenced by Illston to two years and one year in prison, respectively.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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