Trio jailed for north Wales £1m cannabis ring
Three men have been jailed after admitting their part in a cannabis ring producing drugs worth £1m a year.
Mark Graham, 55, of Abergele, Conwy county, played the most significant role, Mold Crown Court heard, and was sentenced to four years eight months.
James Simpson, 34 of Old Colwyn, Conwy, and Jon Dullighan, 29, of Talacre, Flintshire, received four years and two-and-a-half years respectively.
North Wales Police found over 4,000 plants in Kinmel Bay industrial units.
The drugs were dried and packaged and taken to London and Birmingham for onward distribution.
After all three pleaded guilty Judge Niclas Parry said it was one of the biggest cannabis producing operations ever uncovered in north Wales.
"This was nothing short of a rolling production line of harmful drugs," he added.
'Enormous potential profits'
"The potential profits were clearly enormous."
Graham and Simpson had been involved in the drug trade for years, the judge said.
They had enriched themselves to the extent that they were able to invest in property.
"There were huge amounts of drugs leaving north Wales to Birmingham and London," he said.
He described it as a sophisticated and well run business.
Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Iestyn Davies said: "All three men played key roles in the production and distribution nationally of large quantities of cannabis."
He said when North Wales Police officers searched the premises on the Ti'r Llwyd Industrial unit on the 18 June they seized almost 4,700 plants.
He said police estimated that the enterprise led to the production of cannabis with a street value in excess of £1m a year.
"This was a significant discovery which will have impacted greatly on the availability of cannabis nationally and certainly impacted on the supply of the drug to parts of the UK," he added.
"A financial investigation under the Drug Trafficking Act has commenced which will seek to confiscate any assets gained by the defendants as a result of criminality."