We welcome the sentencing of seven men totalling more than 23 years in prison as part of Operation Medaka, after an investigation into an Albanian Organised Crime Group (OCG) involved in large-scale cannabis production.
The following men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, 16th December 2021 having pleaded guilty to the following offences;
25-year-old Bertold Cara of no fixed abode was sentenced to 4 years 10mths in prison for conspiracy to produce cannabis
25-year-old Jurgen Miha of no fixed abode was sentenced to 5 years 8mths in prison for conspiracy to produce cannabis
26-year-old Arber Disha of High Road, Tottenham, London was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for conspiracy to produce cannabis
36-year-old Arjan Canamehti was sentenced to 22mths in prison for production of cannabis
20-year-old Rixhers Shehi was sentenced to 6 years in prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition and 22mths for production of cannabis, to be run concurrently.
25-year-old Ergys Koleci of Anfield was sentenced to 9 months in prison for production of cannabis
27-year-old Eran Zekaj of Anfield was sentenced to 12 months in prison for production of cannabis
During the investigation, more than 1000 cannabis plants were seized, with an estimated street value in excess of one million pounds. In addition to this, a Section 5 handgun and Section 1 ammunition were also seized (all pictured).
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Chris Lowe said: “This was a complex investigation into an organised crime gang who, led by Cara and Miha, were involved in large-scale criminality across Merseyside and West Yorkshire. A number of addresses in the Anfield area of Liverpool were used, as well as hydroponic and DIY stores across Liverpool, in order to further their cannabis production activities.
“On 11 December 2020 a joint strike day with West Yorkshire Police led to the recovery of large quantities of cannabis. Armed officers gained entry to a disused mill on Filey Street in Bradford, and found a highly sophisticated cannabis farm, with 876 plants seized on the day. A Tokarev 8mm semi-automatic pistol with ammunition was also found inside, demonstrating the massive risk that such enterprises creates in the communities affected. Arrests were simultaneously made in the Anfield area.
“Such weapons have the capability to cause fear and harm wherever they are used. Mr Shehi was kind enough to take selfies with this gun, for which we were very grateful. He was later forensically linked to the weapon.
“This operation was conducted during an unprecedented time across the UK, when significant parts of the country were restricted. This presented a lot of challenges but also opportunities in identifying travelling criminals. We will work with other forces and agencies across borders, to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups who cause such damage to our communities.
“The growth, storage and sale of cannabis brings many risks to our communities. It is far from a victimless crime. Drug supply is closely linked to serious organised criminals and violence, and in removing such farms, we’re making your communities safer.
“Stand with us and tell us if you suspect similar is happening where you are.”
If you have any information about suspected drug production in your area, please contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are:
• Strange smells and sounds • Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times • Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting • Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed • Heat from an adjoining property • Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather • Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more sinister.