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Death smell, frozen meat and a warehouse full of $5.5 million worth of weed

Dec 7, 2021 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Illegal scheme lands three men in jail.

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Several members of a gang that regularly moved cannabis from Spain to East Lancashire via crates of frozen meat have taken a detour to jail.


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Late last week, a judge with Preston Crown Court ordered the three men to be sentenced for their part in the illegal scheme. One man has been sentenced to three years and six months, one to three years and nine months and one to four years, confirms a statement released by the Lancaster Constabulary.

The three men, all in their 30s, were handed their sentences after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis resin and conspiracy to supply herbal cannabis. A fourth man, who is 59, is set to be sentenced early next year, while a fifth man charged as part of the conspiracy has been acquitted.

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The scheme was discovered in late August of 2020 when officers conducting inquiries noticed a “death smell” in the air near a warehouse.

A subsequent search of the warehouse, which had a sign reading A2Z Meats Ltd., revealed boxes with 200 kilograms of cannabis skunk and 200 kg of cannabis resin, estimated to have a street value of £3.25 million ($5.5 million).

If the smell from the weed was not enough, the police report that investigating officers also found a large bin containing rotting meat.

“Investigations found that the unit was being rented by the defendants and used as a cover to take delivery of and supply large amounts of cannabis,” notes the police statement.

Two of the accused were found when they fled the scene, but left behind their vehicles. Police used that information, plus DNA discovered on drinks bottles recovered from the office and cellphone data, to identify the duo.


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An image of the accused who has not yet been sentenced was captured on closed-circuit television, showing him “moving bins around outside the unit in preparation for the removal of the cannabis from the boxes of meat which were later discarded.”

Ultimately, several warrants were issued and those involved in the scheme rounded up.

“These conspirators all played their individual roles in what was a sophisticated drugs operation, which saw large quantities of cannabis exported into the U.K., repackaged and then sold. The only thing which motivated these men was greed,” Detective Chief Inspector Tim Brown says in the police statement.

“Lancashire Police will not tolerate illegal drugs activity of any kind and will use all the powers available to us to seek out, arrest and prosecute the offenders,” Brown adds.


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Smuggling cannabis in food is hardly new, although vegetables and prepared products seem to be more popular than meat for such ruses. Unsuccessful attempts to date have included weed being found in coconuts, cucumbers, ketchup, limes, more limes, candy, broccoli, coffee and pork products.

That said, several years back, five men in the U.K. were jailed for 20 months to 12 years for what was then described as the country’s “largest-ever prosecution for cannabis supply.”

According to The Guardian, a gang smuggled about 20 tonnes of weed, at that time estimated to be worth £80 million ($134.4 million), from the Netherlands to the U.K. o (try to) avoid detection, the cannabis was stored under piles of frozen meat in cold stores.

Recreational cannabis is illegal in the U.K.


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