Four Men Jailed For 20 Years After Police Uncover 15mil Cannabis
Four men have been jailed for a total of more than 20 years after police seized the largest amount of cannabis ever found in Britain worth a staggering £15 million. The monumental find in October 2008 included a mountain of cannabis weighing over 3.2 tons plus amphetamine worth £10,000 and £170,000 in cash. Detectives found the secret lock-up was being used to store the 180 boxes of cannabis each weighing 44lbs plus 40 flower boxes containing skunk. They even found a hidden room for stashing drugs behind a cupboard. They also found tell-tale signs of a major drug operation at the garage floor scales and equipment for grinding cannabis. Robert Price, 55, of Leeds, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and being concerned in the supply of amphetamines and was jailed for eight years.
Scott Weaver, 30, also of Leeds, admitted conspiracy to supply amphetamines, being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possession of a prohibited weapon. He was jailed for five years and three months. Andrew Lee, 46, formerly of Wakefield, had previously admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis resin. His brother Graham Lee, 43, formerly of Leeds, admitted supplying amphetamines, supplying cannabis and assisting an offender. Both were jailed for three years and four months. Price, a businessman and property dealer was the 'lynchpin' in the operation to store and distribute the drugs, Leeds Crown Court heard on Thursday. He owned several properties and luxury cars and had 100,000 pounds stashed under the floorboards of his home.
Andrew Lee was employed as his 'patsy' who hired the unit in Wakefield, West Yorks., and was responsible for warehousing the drugs. The operation was smashed after gangsters from the Merseyside area delivered the drugs, thought to have been smuggled to the UK from Spain, and were followed by police. Amphetamines were also seized from a property in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, where Price's son-in-law Weaver ran his own operation processing and dealing the drug. Graham Lee who originally fled to Benidorm after the seizure in October 2008 was arrested on his return to the UK. Judge Kerry Macgill said: 'Criminals placed a considerable amount of trust in Price. The cannabis found was a huge amount. This was a professional operation on a grand scale.' Det Insp Stuart Spencer, of West Yorkshire Police, said: 'This investigation was protracted involving a sophisticated criminal gang with associates across Europe. They were extremely conversant with the importation of commodities and their distribution throughout the north. 'Removing this network undoubtedly had an impact upon the availability of drugs, minimizing the misery they bring to communities.
Travel Agency And Clothing Store Were Fronts For Marijuana Operation
Five men were arrested this week on suspicion of cultivating about 400 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $200,000 inside a Montrose clothing store, travel agency and home, police said. The bust on the 2500 block of Honolulu Avenue took place at Blue Seas travel agency, which also sold medical supplies, and Fast Fashion high-end clothing store all of which police said were being used as fronts for sophisticated indoor-marijuana growing operations, Sgt.
Tom Lorenz said. "All you have to do is walk up to the front of the building and smell the marijuana," he said. The businesses had been converted into a full scale cultivation operation that included lights, ventilation and 381 marijuana plants, Lorenz said.
Fire Leads Cops To Cannabis House
Firefighters stumbled on a mature cannabis crop inside a house that caught fire in Melbourne's southwest. Fire crews went to the home in Egret Court, Werribee, just before 6.30pm on Saturday after neighbors reported smoke billowing from the roof.
They found three rooms containing about 18 mature cannabis plants and hydroponic equipment. Werribee CIU detectives are investigating the cause of the blaze, but no one was at the home at the time of the fire. Police are still searching for the people who were residing at the residence but as of yet no luck. The cannabis plants were obviously being grown for the purpose of distribution and the growth op may very well of been the reason for the fire.
Some Minnesota Schools Target Synthetic Marijuana
It can be made to look like tobacco, herbal incense or a typical baking spice. But it packs twice as much of the active ingredient in marijuana, and the side effects can be life-threatening. Synthetic marijuana is legal for all ages and typically sold as an incense. Officials are seeing more of it in St. Cloud- area schools. Several Minnesota cities have banned the substance, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to temporarily control five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana. But St. Cloud school district chemical health counsellor Dan Becker said that isn't enough, because people who make synthetic marijuana can just create a new chemical recipe to get around a ban.
Becker has become the area's expert on synthetic marijuana. In his small office at McKinley Area Learning Centre, he has dozens of packages of synthetic marijuana that have been taken from students. "A year ago you couldn't find it anywhere," Becker said. But now synthetic marijuana can be purchased in local shops and online. Becker said the use of the substance has expanded quickly because it's so easy to buy on the Internet. Users describe switching from marijuana to synthetic marijuana as like switching from Coke to Diet Coke. The first time they use it, they can get sick or just dislike it.
"It's an acquired taste," Becker said. But once users get used to it, they never go back to marijuana, he said. The buzz is stronger, it's cheaper, and it's more accessible. It's also difficult for parents to detect. The substance doesn't have a scent; some manufacturers mix it with fragrances such as strawberry or cookies and cream. "How can marijuana compete with that?" Becker said. Every maker is his or her own chemist, mixing different chemicals to get the effects they want, Becker said. Then those combined chemicals are mixed with an organic substance so it can be smoked.
Car Crashes Into Man's Home And Exposes Marijuana Farm
An Ellicott City man has more than just insurance claims to worry about after a car crashed into his home earlier this month. Police say the crash revealed that 44 year old Richard Marriott had an indoor marijuana farm. Marriott and another person were uninjured when a BMW driven by 20 year old Bryan Bolster crashed into Marriott's house and burst into flames on Dec. 10. Bolster died in the crash.
Howard County police say fire investigators were inspecting Marriott's home for structural damage when they found the drugs. Police got a search warrant and found what they describe as an extensive growing operation, with nearly 20 large marijuana plants. Marriott was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $15,000 bond. Court records show he also faces trial next month on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Cannabis Plants Found In Romeoville Homes
Six people arrested in connection with an indoor pot-growing operation appeared Tuesday in bond court. Their next court date is Jan. 11 in Will County. The Cook County South Narcotics Unit and Romeoville Police found the operations Monday, leading to the arrest of six on felony charges of producing cannabis. “Unfortunately, it occurs throughout the country. Obviously, money can be made in this illegal activity, and it’s unfortunate there are people who are engaged in this activity. We are glad to see that these operations were shut down,” said Mark Turvey, interim Romeoville police chief. Cuong Van Tran, 31, Vinh Thi Nguyen, 51, Chien Van Tran, 29, Canh Van Tran, 55, all of the 1735 William Drive in Romeoville, have been charged with production of cannabis, a Class 2 felony. Bond for the four offenders has been set at $50,000.
Police reportedly found about 18 cannabis plants behind concealed rooms in the basement inside the home at 1735 William Drive. The group had an advanced indoor grow operation, with elaborate lighting, ventilation and irrigation systems, according to a Cook County Sheriff press release. Nghia Tien Dinh, 39, and Hue D. Tuong, 38, both of the 1663 Rose Lane in Romeoville, have been charged with production of cannabis, a Class 1 felony. Bond for Dinh and Tuong has been set at $70,000. At the Rose Lane home, police reportedly found another cannabis grow operation that spanned the basement, with approximately 225 plants. The house also had advanced cultivation equipment similar to the first home, indicating a wholesale distribution operation, police said.
Police developed information on the houses through weeks-long surveillance and investigations. They obtained search warrants Monday. Police reportedly found harvested marijuana in the basements of both houses. Charges are pending on this additional evidence. This is the second major grow house bust in a week by sheriff’s police which led to the seizure of more than $1 million in cannabis. This drug bust was the third in a month for Romeoville, Turvey said.
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