Creative Criminals, That’s For Sure
A nuclear bunker, built to home civic dignitaries during the Cold War and previously thought to be abandoned, has been used instead to farm cannabis plants in a $2 million-a-year underground business.
Free Rent, Free Electricity and Mass Profit
The 20-room underground compound, located in Wiltshire county in south-west England, was fitted with nuclear blast doors to make it pretty much impenetrable. The raided was conducted at midnight as police pounced on the ringleaders of the operation as they left the compound.
From Lad Bible
The unique set-up enabled them to produce a crop every six weeks to be sold across the south-west England.
Organised criminals Martin Fillery, 45, Plamen Nguyen, 27, and Ross Winter, 30, were behind the project. They filtered off electricity worth £250,000 to power equipment costing £140,000.
Living quarters were also provided for ‘gardeners’ who tended to the crops and there were even nurseries for baby plants to thrive.
The police planned their attack on the bunker, which involved waiting for Nguyen and Winter, both of Bristol, and Fillery, of Bridgwater, Somerset, to leave the building before they were able to seize the keys to it.
The size of the drug factory, at RGHQ Chilmark, in Wiltshire, was so big that it took 10 days to clear after the February raid.
The men all admitted conspiracy to produce class B drugs and abstracting electricity when they appeared at Salisbury Crown Court. Fillery also admitted possession of criminal property and will be subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) after sentencing.
Simon Pope, the detective inspector for the case, said: “This was an enormous discovery for our Local Priority Team – I believe it was the biggest cannabis factory we’ve ever had in Wiltshire and the South West region.
“The isolated and secure nature of the location made the warrant particularly challenging. The bunker itself had approximately 20 rooms inside over two floors, and almost every single room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis.”
Pope added that a lot of preparation had gone in to investigating the case, and exercising the warrant, but was glad that it all paid off.
“I’m really pleased that we have been able to dismantle such a large-scale organised operation running in rural Wilshire,” he said.
“As a result we have stopped an enormous amount of illegal drugs from reaching the streets of Wiltshire and South West and causing harm our communities.”
Cannabis is a class B drug, meaning that possession can carry up to five years in prison with the possibility of an unlimited fine as well.
The supply and production of cannabis, the UK’s most popular drug, can also result in an unlimited fine and up to 14 years in prison.”