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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

World News for March 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Cannabis Shelter
England: A Regional Government Headquarters in Chilmark, Wiltshire was originally intended to be an underground bunker for government officials and dignitaries in the event of a nuclear attack when it was constructed in the 1980’s. Since then, the Ministry of Defense has sold the property with the bunker and nuclear blast doors still intact.

     A raid recently conducted at the property found the 2 story, 20 room building to be completely full of marijuana. Law enforcement had to wait outside the shelter for someone from inside to leave as the doors were completely impenetrable. Three men were arrested when they left the building and officers used their keys to enter where they found three more men inside. The ages of the six men ranged from 15 to 45 years old. 

     Officers stated, “Almost every single room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis plants, and there was a large amount of evidence of previous crops. This was an enormous set-up. At this early stage of the investigation it is almost impossible to work out how many plants are inside, but we are talking thousands rather than hundreds, and we would estimate the value of the crop at over £1 million. I am convinced it is one of the largest crops ever discovered in Wiltshire.”

     The three men found inside the bunker were arrested on suspicion of cannabis production, while the three men arrested outside the compound have been arrested on suspicion of cannabis production and human trafficking.


Don’t Run Checkpoints
Italy: Police in Co Laois found marijuana worth more than €250,000 during a traffic stop last month. The vehicle had attempted to bypass a multi-agency checkpoint set up by Revenue and Customs officers, the Road Safety Authority, and police. When searched officers found large garbage bags filled with bricks of marijuana which were being transported across the county. The 30 year old man driving the car was the sole occupant and is being held at Portlaoise Garda Station until a forensic examination of the car is complete.

Canna Dough
Dubai: A woman from Nigeria and a local man lost an appeal in criminal court and have each been sentenced to 10 years and a Dhs 50,000 fine, which will subsequently be followed by deportation for the woman. The woman was found to be smuggling 5kg of marijuana hidden in dough. She was apprehended as soon as she arrived at the Dubai International Airport, while the man was arrested after standing in the Hamdan area for more than 5hours, apparently waiting for the woman. The female acknowledged the bag was hers, but denied knowing what was in it, claiming someone “tasked her with delivering the bag and its contents.” The man claimed he was waiting for the woman to deliver the hashish, which he would take to an unnamed third party dealer. Both parties will attempt to file another appeal.

Marijuana Mail
Spain: Five people, aged 31 to 58 from Ireland, Spain, Holland, and Morocco, have been arrested in connection with an international marijuana ring. The suspects are believed to have been sending marijuana through the mail to people in Germany, Holland, and Great Britain. The arrests came after officers found a cannabis farm with nearly 1,000 plants inside. Documentation found at the scene told police who was in charge of running the grow operation. A joint operation by the Civil Guard and National Police found the farm members at various hideouts, which turned up more plants and packages ready to be shipped. An investigation is ongoing.

Grow Home
England: An officer from Durham Constabulary spoke to the Chronicle Live about a recent raid which contained the biggest in-home grow operation he has seen in his career. Police from his unit executed a warrant on a house in Bishop Auckland due to intelligence information “suggesting the property was being used for the cultivation of drugs”.

     When law enforcement entered the home they found all four bedrooms converted into a large grow operation. Roughly 300 marijuana plants, in various stages of growth, were removed from the home. They also found about 50 electrical junction boxes being used, with exposed wires running throughout the building. One man was arrested in connection with the plants and has been charged for drug offenses. Inspector Andy Reeves said, “This is the biggest cannabis grow I have seen in my police service. It appears to be a very professional set-up and I am really pleased we have been able to stop these drugs circulating in the area.”

Drug Rates Increase in Ireland
Ireland: A new study released by the NACDA (National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol), a cross-border government agency, has found that the use of illegal substances in Ireland has increased since 2010/2011. The agency polled 9,505 residents from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and recorded their use of illegal drugs, prescription medication, alcohol, and gambling.

     The report found that cannabis was the most commonly used illegal drug across every region, with numbers that have increased since a 2010/2011 study. The use of ecstasy and antidepressants has increased in many southern regions. Professor Catherine Comiskey, Minister for the NACDA, said of the report, “A comparison of the 2014/15 figures with the 2010/11 figures shows an overall increase in recent and current use of cannabis, ecstasy and anti-depressants in many regions.” She hopes to bring a new National Drugs Strategy before the government by the end of March, using the new study to strengthen support for the policy.

Large Haul for Customs
China: A 23 year old man from Hong Kong, a territory in southeastern China, was arrested last month when Customs found 3.2 kilograms (7lbs) of marijuana in two privately owned vehicles. Another small amount of cannabis was found at the man’s residence where a 56 year old was found in possession and arrested. Officers estimate the seizure to be worth at least HK$625,000 ($80,526USD). Both men are being detained while an investigation is underway.




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