Gang jailed after 7,500 cannabis plants seized

From top left: Alban Boka, Altin Boka, Ignis Asllanaj, Blerim Nela; From bottom left: Julian Deliu, Elvis Fikaj, Eleri Cosslett, Adam Musson Cannabis gang jailed: Alban Boka, Altin Boka, Ignis Asllanaj, Blerim Nela, Adam Musson, Eleri Cosslet, Elvis Fikaj, Julian Deliu (clockwise from top right)

Members of a drugs gang have been jailed for between two and 10 years after police seized 7,500 cannabis plants worth an estimated £3.5m.

Seven men and one woman were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court following a two-and-half-year police operation.

Police said the gang had brought large quantities of cannabis to the streets of south Wales.

Six had pleaded guilty and two were found guilty of conspiracy to produce controlled drugs.

In a joint operation last year 130 police officers from three forces were involved in raids in locations including Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and Bath where they carried out simultaneous arrests.

Operation Pristina Police seized a total of 7,500 cannabis plants worth an estimated £3.5m
Operation Pristina Properties that were believed to be cannabis factories were raided
Operation Pristina Police said the success of Operation Pristina was as a result of working alongside communities

Other properties that were believed to be cannabis factories were also raided. They were in Swansea, Cardiff, Pontypridd and Newport.

In total, officers seized 7,500 cannabis plants worth an estimated £3.5m, around £25,000 in cash and a Bentley car.

Det Supt Dorian Lloyd, head of the Force Intelligence and Organised Crime Unit at South Wales Police, said: "Operation Pristina was put in place to target individuals believed to be involved in the cultivation and supply of controlled drugs across south Wales and the west of England.

"The arrest and conviction of this crime group shows that South Wales Police will continue to pursue those who traffic drugs into our communities.

"The success of this investigation was as a direct result of South Wales Police personnel working alongside our communities to target such criminality."

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Six defendants pleaded guilty at Newport Crown Court to conspiracy to produce controlled drugs:

  • Alban Boka - sentenced to 10 years
  • Altin Boka - sentenced to three years and four months
  • Ignis Asllanaj - sentenced to eight years and 6 months
  • Blerim Nela - sentenced to three years and six months
  • Julian Deliu - sentenced to three years
  • Elvis Fikaj - sentenced to two years

Alban Boka and Ignis Asllanaj also pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a prohibited firearm; possessing expanding ammunition; and possessing live ammunition without a firearm certificate.

Two defendants pleaded not guilty to the same charge but were found guilty following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court:

  • Eleri Cosslett - sentenced to three years
  • Adam Musson - sentenced to five years
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