Six of seven suspects that netted about $450,000 worth of marijuana plants were each sentenced Wednesday to less than six months time in the county jail.
Steven Pham, 25, Tue Pham, 37, Marvin Pham, 27, Brian Wong, 31, Nam Nguyen, 29, Danny Nguyen, 22 and Donna Quach, 28 had been charged with felony counts of possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana and operating a building for the purpose of storing or growing. Steven Pham, Marvin Pham, Nam Nguyen and Donna Quach were also charged with possession of firearms.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe was disappointed with the sentence handed out, "...and I'd tell the judge that."
On the bench for the case was Judge Craig Parsons.
"Back in the day," continued Wagstaffe, "I can remember when a guy with five joints would get state prison time. I think it speaks about the declining criminal value of marijuana in the eyes of judges; who knows where that will go?"
Officers uncovered a shotgun, a rifle, and several handguns during the sting operation, including the find of a loaded .40 caliber handgun plus ammunition in a child's bedroom dresser drawer at one of the residences.
Charges against Donna Quach were later dropped. The other six defendants pleaded no contest to the charges.
The sting operation on May 16, 2011 was one of several the County Narcotics Task Force carried out last year, and was uniquely dubbed "Mighty Mites" because the plants discovered in the grow houses were found to have spider mite infestations.
Three grow houses were raided in Daly City and one in South San Francisco. The .
Police believe all of the suspects are allegedly members of a close-knit Asian drug trafficking organization and are not associated with any known medical marijuana dispensaries.
"These weren't a bunch of guys that got together and said 'Hey, let's grow some pot and see if we can make some money,'" said Wagstaffe.
Each suspect was held on $1 million bail until Wednesday's sentencing.