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Unemployed builder becomes marijuana ‘gardener’ for gang

Unemployed builder becomes marijuana ‘gardener’ for gang

A man began “growing” cannabis plants for a gang after struggling to find construction work. Police raided a sophisticated drug farm in Blaenau Gwent to find up to £58,000 worth of the Class B substance, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Bledi Memaci, 26, was arrested on May 24 in Adam Street, Abertillery, outside a long-empty house that had been converted into a cannabis factory. Judge Hywel James told Memaci: “This was not about exploitation but about seeking financial gain after you found it difficult to obtain work in construction.”




Memaci, of no fixed address, admitted producing cannabis. He had no previous convictions. His lawyer Kevin Seal acknowledged that an immediate prison sentence was inevitable. “He knows that upon release from his custodial sentence he will be subject to deportation,” Mr Seal said. “Upon deportation he will return to Albania and his family there.”

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Judge James said: “Four rooms in the property had been converted and the crops were in various stages – some flowering, some at nursery stage. The prosecution put the retail value at £19,000 to £58,000. Photographs show the sophistication of the set-up with specialist lighting and equipment. You were spotted outside the property and fled but were later arrested.”

The judge accepted that Memaci had played a “minor role” in the operation as the gang’s gardener. He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, of which Memaci will serve half in custody before being released on licence. Judge James ordered the destruction of all items found in the house.