Bristol-based crime group behind multi-million pound Merseyside cannabis factory jailed
A Bristol-based organised crime group that used an industrial unit in Merseyside to grow cannabis with a street value of more than £1 million each harvest has been sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.
The group had been remanded in custody since their arrests in autumn 2019 as part of an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU). They were all sentenced last Wednesday and Thursday (10 and 11 February) at Liverpool Crown Court.
Mario Fioruci, 37, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years; Alessandro Carbone, 46, from Glen Park, Bristol to four years; Luca Fioravanti, 37, from High Street, Kingswood, Bristol, to three-and-a-half years; Edi Daka, 46, of Dudley Court, Barrs Court, South Gloucestershire to three years; Arjan Dishmima, 42, of no fixed abode, to 22 months; and Eno Suma, 35, of Bishopsworth Road, Bedminster Down, Bristol, to 22 months.
All six men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis. Fioravanti also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis.
Four of the men – Fioruci, Daka, Dishmima and Suma – were arrested as they headed back to Bristol after visiting the cannabis grow on 10 October 2019. They travelled in convoy in two Mercedes Sprinter vans which, when stopped by officers, were found to be loaded with 30 large bags of soil and cannabis plant waste, as well as a large bag of cannabis.
Officers, with the assistance of Merseyside Police, then went to search the industrial unit on Craven Industrial Park in Birkenhead and discovered the extensive set-up. Spread over three floors, they found 610 plants, six growing tents, a large drying room, and a by-passed electricity meter to supply the high wattage heat and light systems, air extraction and ventilation used to control the aggressive growing cycle that would ensure numerous crops throughout the year.
Fioravanti and Carbone were arrested a fortnight later in Brislington, Bristol, where £19,000 in cash was seized from a bedroom and a further £50,000 worth of cannabis was found in a car boot.
Following their arrests, the investigation led to a further cannabis grow being located within a house in Easton, Bristol. The grow was partially dismantled, but again the electricity meter had been by-passed and substantial damage had been caused to the house.
Detective Inspector Charlotte Tucker from the SW ROCU said, “What we found in Merseyside was an enormous and sophisticated set-up which was capable of generating £1.3 to £1.9 million worth of cannabis each harvest.
“Organised criminals like this group think they’re operating under the radar and can exploit anyone and anything to make money. Focus will now turn to stripping them of the money and assets they made through crime.”
Matt Brown, from Merseyside Police’s Matrix Cannabis Dismantling Team, said: “It is pleasing to see the successful conclusion of this investigation, and we’re happy to have been able to assist SW ROCU in their excellent efforts.
“Cannabis farms cause a significant threat and harm to communities across the country, and working alongside other forces and regions, we can be even more effective in removing them, and putting before the courts those who look to make criminal gains.
“In this case, a cannabis farm and an organised crime group have both been dismantled. If you suspect a cannabis farm has been set up where you are, speak to your local force and we’ll take action.”