Couple caught growing cannabis worth nearly £ 110,000 in Telford prison
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that there were cannabis plants in every room in the house
The couple may be released soon, however, as they have been on pre-trial detention since they were arrested last year after a plant seizure valued at an estimated £ 109,000 was found in a house on Haybridge Avenue, Hadley.
23-year-old cannabis gardener Arvan Ivani claimed he was forced to take part in the drive to pay off £ 25,000 debt to traffickers who helped him get into the country.
Mr David Iles, Prosecutor, said: “Both of the defendants are Albanian nationals. On a previous occasion, both pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis. On October 5th, Shpresim Sanaj was seen by police driving a white van to a parking lot. ”Square across from the property.
“He was holding a brown box in his hand. The police entered the address with an arrest warrant and found the two defendants in the kitchen. The premises were searched and cannabis plants were in every room. When he was interrogated by the police, Sinaj made no comment .
“Avani said he was responsible for watering the 109 plants found. His reason is that he entered the country illegally with the help of third parties. He was told that he owed them £ 25,000 and that he would have to work for them to pay it back.
“He worked as a gardener two to three days a week. He was not paid and had no choice but to pay off his debts.
“In his plea, Sanaj said that he came to this country in 2018. He says that he was urgently looking for money due to the Covid situation. He was asked to bring a box of tools to the property. He was given the van for transport it.” Mr Iles said both men from London allegedly played less of a role in the operation.
Miss Juliet Donovan, who tempered Sinaj, 27, told Shrewsbury Crown Court that he sought asylum because his father was involved in a murder, which led the defendant to fear reprisals.
Judge Peter Barrie has jailed Avani for 10 months. Sinaj was jailed for nine months, half of which must be served before he is released on license. He also ordered the drugs and equipment to be confiscated and destroyed.
“You have probably served your sentence,” Judge Barrie told Avani.
He added that the Ministry of Interior is responsible for making decisions about deportation.
At the time of her arrest, Barry Spencer, Proactive Detective Inspector for West Mercia Police, Telford said, “This warrant was part of our commitment to fighting serious and organized crime and making our communities even safer.
“Growing cannabis farms like this one not only causes disruption for local residents, it also brings associated damage.
“We suspect that those involved are part of a larger group of organized crime and will continue to take further enforcement measures and disrupt the activities of all involved.”