23rd Oct, 2020

Three arrested as National Crime Agency swoops on £1million cannabis farm in Coventry nightclub

Tristan Harris 17th Oct, 2020 Updated: 17th Oct, 2020

THREE men have been arrested and a £1million cannabis farm has been seized after National Crime Agency officers raided a Coventry nightclub.

More than 1,000 plants were spread out at the property in Trinity Street and officers had to smash through several reinforced doors to access the grow.

As well as the plants – one of the largest hauls ever confiscated by the NCA – officers also recovered sophisticated planting, growing and irrigation equipment, valued at around £150,000

Of the three arrested, two were tracked down with the assistance of a West Midlands Police drone unit as they attempted to flee the building.

NCA branch Commander Adam Warnock said it was a significant drug seizure which would have a huge impact on the organised crime groups involved, depriving them of commodity and profit.

“The size of the cannabis factory was significant and sophisticated, spread across three floors of a large building.

“Operations like this underline the value and power of working with law enforcement partners like West Midlands Police to take down high-harm criminals.

“Our investigation into this seizure continues.”

All three men were subsequently charged with production of a class B drug.

Albanian national Andi Qani (aged 24) and Vietnamese national Cao Van Vu (31) appeared before Coventry magistrates on Friday where they were remanded in custody until their next court appearance at Warwick Crown Court on November 12.

The third man, Albanian national Adrian Lieshaj (28), was found to be wanted by German authorities for robbery offences and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.

He was taken to Westminster Magistrates court yesterday in order for the extradition matter to be heard.

The operation was supported by officers from the West Midlands Police Cannabis Disruption Team.

Ch Supt Lee Wharmby, head of West Midlands Police’s Operations department, said: “Our pilots helped detain two people using our state-of-the art drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras.

“It’s always great when we can help out a partner agency. Our job is to protect the public and drones are invaluable to us.”

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