A cannabis farmer caught growing drugs at his Peterborough worth up to £200,000 has been jailed. Police raided the home of Mark Paplekaj in Caithwaite, Peterborough, on 14 June, as part of a national crackdown against organised crime groups.
The 32-year-old attempted to run out of the back patio doors with two mobile phones and £790 in cash but was arrested.
Inside his home, police found three rooms upstairs with 74 mature cannabis plants and 153 seedlings. They also found a bag of cannabis buds. The drugs were given a street value of up to £200,000.
At Cambridge Crown Court, Paplekaj was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to production of cannabis.
Paplekaj’s arrest was part of Operation Mille, a national crackdown against organised crime groups.
In June, police in Cambridgeshire located and searched 19 suspected cannabis grows across the county, seizing 3,555 cannabis plants worth more than £3 million as well as more than £30,000 in cash and £100,000 worth of growing equipment.
Detective Constable Igor Simonov, who investigated, said: “Criminal networks involved in drug dealing, immigration and money laundering will continue to be targeted by police and partner agencies. T
“he links between serious crime and those involved in cannabis cultivation are clear, with the drugs trade fuelling gang violence as groups compete for territory and look to hunt out their opposition.”
Cannabis factories also present a very real local threat. The size of them means that damage is often caused to the properties themselves; the buildings can become dangerous as a result of fire risks, unlawful abstraction of electricity, fumes and water damage.
Anyone with information about a potential cannabis factory or drug dealing can contact police online www.cambs.police.uk or call 101. People can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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