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Friday, Jul 1, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Three men jailed after UK agency finds 1,500 weed plants in abandoned nightclub

NCA broke through a reinforced door to find £1 million of weed in one of the ‘largest’ and ‘most sophisticated’ grow ops the agency has seen

Three men jailed after UK agency finds 1,500 weed plants in abandoned nightclub
Three men have been handed prison sentences in the U.K. after a large grow op was discovered in October 2020. Image via NCA

After discovering an “industrial,” three-floor weed grow in an abandoned U.K. nightclub last October, the National Crime Agency (NCA) says three foreign nationals have been sentenced to prison.

A statement released Tuesday explains police and NCA officers raided the former nightclub in Coventry on Oct. 15, 2020.

NCA officer breaking through reinforced door at grow op

National Crime Agency officers breaking through a reinforced door at an ‘industrial’ U.K. cannabis farm. Image via NCA

It took breaking through reinforced doors to reach about 1,500 cannabis plants, with an estimated value of more than £1 million (CAN$1.7 million), spread throughout the building, along with roughly £150,000 in “sophisticated” equipment.

Albanian nationals Andi Cani, 24, and Adrian Lleshaj, 29, and Vietnamese national Cao Van Vu, 31, were arrested.

Read more: Richmond RCMP seize 427 pounds of weed from two illicit operations

Read more: Salmon Arm RCMP seize cannabis plants, cocaine, cash from illicit grow

“These men were involved in producing cannabis on an industrial scale. It is certainly the largest and most sophisticated cannabis factory ever found by the NCA,” said branch commander Mick Pope in a statement.

Cani and Lleshaj had tried to hide on the building’s roof during the raid but were later caught with the help of a police drone unit.

During interviews with NCA investigators, all three men said they had paid to be smuggled into the country.

The three of them pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug and were sentenced Tuesday.

Vu was sentenced to 40 months in prison, Lleshaj to 35 months and Cani to 28 months. The trio will be deported after serving their sentences.

Cannabis is a Class B substance in the U.K. and is only allowed for medical use. Selling and producing weed can result in up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

“The takedown of this facility will have had a huge impact on the wider organized crime group, depriving them of potentially millions of pounds in profit, which would have been used to fund further criminality and exploitation,” Pope added.

The NCA investigation is ongoing.


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