Officers clamping down on illegal drug supply have arrested nine people and seized £870,000 worth of cannabis after they uncovered an industrial sized farm.
On Sunday at around 7.15pm, police were on patrol on Westgate Road in Newcastle, when they were alerted to some suspicious activity.
Initial enquiries led to the arrest of four men and one woman, suspected of dealing drugs and the group were all taken into custody along with two other men thought to be buying illegal substances.
An investigation was launched as part of Operation Sentinel, the Force’s dedicated activity aimed at disrupting organised crime, and it wasn’t long before officers received further information which led them to a large-scale cannabis farm on St Omer’s Road, Dunston.
Inside the building, almost 2000 plants all at various stages of growth were recovered along with a sophisticated hydroponics set up, and officers noted the electrics had been bypassed.
Another address on Lincoln Street, Sunderland was also searched with officers recovering 17kilos of cannabis.
Throughout the course of the investigation, two other men were also arrested.
Speaking about the activity, Superintendent Jamie Pitt said: “We are committed to tackling illegal drug supply in our region and these results speak for themselves.
“This type of activity is not just a one-off but is a clear example of work which is going on around the clock to ensure harmful, illegal drugs are taken out of the supply chain and destroyed, so criminal groups are no longer able to turn a profit from selling to the vulnerable.
“We will continue to arrest those involved in this type of criminality as part of Operation Sentinel, as well as working with our partners in the local authority and third sector as part of the Government funded Project Adder, which ensure those struggling with addiction are given the help they need.”
Of the nine arrested, six have since been released under investigation and three men charged as follows:
- Edison Sulanjaku, 25, of North Station Avenue, Houghton le Spring charged with production and possession with intent to supply cannabis.
- Besnik Cela, 47, of no fixed abode was charged with production of cannabis.
- Xhenifer Muca, 21, of no fixed abode was charged with possession with intent to supply cannabis.
The trio all appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court today (August 30) and have been remanded in custody. They are next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on September 27.
To report suspicious activity, please visit our website and use the Tell us Something page.
To access support and learn more about Project Adder, visit Drugs and Alcohol | Newcastle City Council