A TOTAL of three men who were involved in the production of cannabis at a property in Bangor have been jailed.

Agron Aruci, 30; and Fabjol Mucaj, 21; both of no fixed abode, were each sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment at Caernarfon Crown Court today (September 25).

The third defendant, Bedri Elezi, 36, of Lilley Road, Liverpool, was handed a two-year prison sentence, meanwhile.

Aruci and Mucaj both pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of a class B drug at an adjourned plea and trial preparation hearing, while Elezi admitted the same charge at a later stage.


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Prosecuting, John Philpotts told the court that, at about 5am on March 22, officers were watching closed circuit television (CCTV) covering the city’s High Street when they noticed a small white van parked outside an empty shop.

They saw two males, and could see material being moved between the van and the building.

When officers went to investigate in person, Elezi ran away, before being detained nearby and being found in possession of £300 and a key to the van.

Aruci was detained while trying to escape via the rear of the building, wearing gardening gloves, and Mucaj was arrested nearby soon after.

Officers discovered a large cannabis grow and living quarters inside the building, with plants housed across three levels.

A CCTV monitoring system had been installed, and there was evidence that the building’s electricity supply had been tampered with.

When interviewed, Elezi produced a prepared statement denying any knowledge of the cannabis grow, while the other two claimed they had acted under duress.

An expert estimated that the grow could have produced up to 21kg of cannabis, with a minimum street value of £88,000.

None of the defendants had any previous convictions, meanwhile.

Defending Elezi, Matthew Buckland said he had “occupied a significant role” in the operation, and was “principally a driver for the others”.

A married man with a stepson, Elezi has been in the UK for five years, but does not have indefinite leave to remain, and “knows his future is unlikely to lie in this country”.

Representing Aruci, Richard Edwards said he arrived in the UK via a small dinghy from France, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old daughter in Albania.

He said he was told he needed to pay off his debt for travelling to the UK, but had been finding time apart from his family “very, very difficult”.

Aruci, who had worked in construction in Albania, “knows he has done wrong” and “wants to put this incident behind him”, Mr Edwards said.

Mitigating for Mucaj, Matthew Dunford said his client had said he had a debt to the people who had arranged for him to come to the UK via a lorry.

Mucaj said those people had threatened his family in Albania if he did not comply, Mr Dunford said.

He “wants to return to Albania as soon as he is able,” to be re-united with his younger brother and unwell father

Mr Dunford said his client “feels the only breadwinner for the family”.

Sentencing, Judge Nicola Saffman also ordered the deprivation of the money recovered, and the forfeiture and destruction of all drugs seized.

“You knew the scale of the operation”, she told the defendants.