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Albanian man ‘brought to Wales by organised crime group to work in cannabis farm’

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An Albanian man was smuggled into UK by an organised crime group to work in one of its cannabis plantations in Wales, a court has heard.

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Aldjon Musollari was caught leaving the flat above a former post office which had been converted into a sophisticated £100,000 drug-growing business.

The walls of the commercial unit had been plasterboarded and covered in plastic sheets and there were dozens of growing lamps, electricity transformers, bags of fertiliser, and a hydroponic feeding and watering system hooked up to the upstairs bathroom. Those who set up the farm had also cut a hole in the ceiling and fitted a ladder allowing easy access from the living quarters to the growing area.

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Swansea Crown Court heard that when police stopped Musollari he replied: “I speak no English. Albanian. No passport. Illegal.”

Ian Ibrahim, prosecuting, said on October 26 this year police went to a former commercial premises in Saron near Ammanford known locally as the “old post office”, a two-storey building with a self-contained flat above a shop in Saron Road.

He said officers forced entry through a side window of the building and had to punch their way through a layer of plasterboard on the inside and then a layer of plastic sheeting on the wall. Inside the shop unit police found 120 plants of various stages of maturity, 48 growing lamps, fans and extractor units, electricity transformers, and a sophisticated hydroponic watering system which officers later discovered was plumbed into the upstairs bathroom. The electricity meter to the building had been bypassed. Police also found a hole had been cut in the ceiling of the shop and a ladder fitted to allow access to the self-contained first-floor flat without the need to leave the building. Bags of fertiliser and compost were also found.

The potential value of the cannabis crop once harvested was estimated at up to £100,000.



The former commercial unit had been converted into a sophisticated cannabis farm
The former commercial unit had been converted into a sophisticated cannabis farm



The cannabis farm contained 120 plants of various stages of maturity along with growing lamps, fans and extractor units, and a sophisticated hydroponic watering system plumbed into the upstairs bathroom
The cannabis farm contained 120 plants of various stages of maturity along with growing lamps, fans and extractor units, and a sophisticated hydroponic watering system plumbed into the upstairs bathroom

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The court heard that as police were searching the commercial unit a man – now known to be 34-year-old Musollari – was seen leaving the upstairs flat via the external metal stairs. When challenged he replied: “I speak no English. Albanian. No passport. Illegal.” The defendant was searched and a key to the flat was found. Mr Ibrahim said it was clear when police entered the flat that somebody had been living there.

In his interview he initially told officers he had entered the UK in the back of lorry from Belgium around six weeks earlier. He said he had worked in construction in Liverpool before falling out with relatives in the city and then travelling to Cardiff where he spent a week living rough on the streets before being approached by two men who took him to Ammanford and kept him in the flat.

Musollari, of no fixed abode, admitted the production of cannabis when he appeared in the dock via videolink from prison for sentencing. He has no previous convictions.



Aldjon Musollari
Aldjon Musollari

Matt Murphy, for Musollari, said the case was one that was all too familiar for the courts in south Wales with a man from an eastern European country brought to the UK to be part of the drugs operation of an organised crime group. He said given the “desperate” employment situation in Musollari’s hometown in Albania his client had taken to opportunity to come to the UK and engage in cannabis cultivation in order to provide for his wife and parents back home.

Judge Catherine Richards told the defendant he had come to the UK to take part in the offence of producing cannabis, had been provided with living quarters and keys, and would have been expecting financial reward for his work.

Giving the defendant a one-third discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced Musollari to 20 months in prison. He will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

Musollari’s immigration status is a matter for the Home Office.

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