It is a sad fact that this is not a new situation. The players change but the game remains the same. Years ago criminal organisations came to that very easy revelation that as the United Kingdom decided they did not want to have safe and legal access to cannabis; people would still want to get hold of it and that this is a very easy and lucrative business to get into.
Now this is where the United Kingdom justice system really shines. Criminal organisations realised that to the Police and the Courts it did not matter who supplied the seeds, pots, lights or money for any other equipment, housing or labour needed. All that matters is who is with the cannabis plants at the time of arrest. This is why you will never see any real criminal being arrested because of a cannabis “factory”, though you will think that you did. Handcuffed and taken to jail it does not matter where you are from or how you got there; all that matters is that we have someone to blame.
One of the most recent examples of this is in Merthyr. Valdet Malluta, 20, and Ajet Gjuzi, 23 are both from Albania. Previously promised by organised criminals streets paved with gold and legitimate work, it is all takenaway when they are thrust into a life of living in an abandoned pub in the middle of the town and growing large amounts of cannabis.
Raided on September 5th 2013 Valdet and Ajet were discovered with 1,095 cannabis plants in a range from seedlings to flowering plants. As always the police have counted the quantity of plants and put a label of 45kg which is claimed to be £250,000 worth of cannabis. Now it is fairly clear in this situation that it consists of a perpetual cycle of plants keeping a consistent stream of cannabis coming from the criminals onto the street. Handing it a value of a quarter of a million is just picking numbers from the sky. Cannabis is a beautiful plant and has a huge amount of variety; genetics, as well as how you care for it, really makes a huge difference to the quality and quantity of bud harvested from the plant.
Now you would think with both defendants having been illegally human trafficked from Albania and still in debt to the traffickers, that when they realised what they were doing was illegal they would have tried to leave, however threats were made by the criminal gangs who bought them over. But surely the Police would help them and the Courts would be lenient? Sadly not. This is never the case be it for two young Albanian men or a group of Vietnamese children; we need someone to blame and as they were there it is entirely their fault.
Matthew Cobbe, prosecuting told the court the plants found would have produced around 45kg of cannabis with a street value of between £196,000 and £254,000.
Defending, Mr Greenwood said: “He [Malluta] came her believing the streets were paved with gold. He could not claim benefits. He was living rough. He was afforded an opportunity by an organised crime group
Both men were jailed for 2 years for being part of what Judge Tom Crowther QC informed them was within the “industrial” scope. Judge Crowther added: “This was plainly not only a continuing and rotating crop but there was evidence of previous crops as well.” But the judge did not end there, to just be as ridiculous and ironic as possible both men were handed a £120 Victims Surcharge fine to pay. As cannabis has no victims it always confuses me where this money goes, but in this case it absolutely stuns me. We now charge the victims, jail them and finally once we are done with them deport them back to Albania where they are more than likely going to fall back in with the same gang and the very sad cycle will continue. Police will keep arresting victims and cannabis will still remain risky to buy on the street because criminal organisations do not care about the quality or safety of their product. As long as it brings in the money for criminals and not the Government; our jails will continue to become more and more overcrowded with men and women who have done no more than grow a plant.
The most interesting thing about this case was that, it was previously a pub where legal drug alcohol – arguably one of the most harmful to mankind – had been sold for many many years. Not only that but there had been previous crops at the address it must have gone under the radar for a while because believe it or not it was right round the corner to the Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court…
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