Cannabis farm unearthed in Lancashire after suspected drugs 'mastermind' arrested in Birmingham

Watch the dramatic moment officers arrest a Birmingham man suspected of being the mastermind behind a network of UK cannabis farms.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:48 pm

A 33-year old Vietnamese national was detained on suspicion of conspiring to produce and distribute cannabis in Essex Street, Birmingham this morning (November 4).

His 24-year-old female partner was also arrested and is now being questioned.

The arrests follow raids on a series of premises that were being used to cultivate cannabis, including a former hotel in Clayton-le-Moors.

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A Birmingham man has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation. (Credit: National Crime Agency)

Paul Boniface, NCA senior investigating officer, said: "The scale and sophistication of the cannabis farms we have uncovered as part of this investigation suggests a criminal network capable of producing cannabis on an industrial level, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds profit.

"There is an added layer of exploitation to these types of criminal enterprises, with the networks involved often using individuals who have been smuggled or trafficked into the UK illegally to run their farms.

"Working with our partners at West Midlands Police and Lancashire Police we have been able to dismantle this particular network, make a number of arrests, and our investigation continues."

1,000 plants, worth an estimated £1 million, were found inside a three-storey former nightclub in Coventry during an NCA operation on 15 October. Three people were arrested and charged.

Police discovered a cannabis farm at a former hotel in Clayton-le-Moors. (Credit: National Crime Agency)

Other farms suspected of being linked to the crime group include one raided by West Midlands Police on the site of an old pub in Hockley, Birmingham, on September 18, and another found by Lancashire Police at a former hotel in Clayton-le-Moors the following day.

Each had more than 300 plants, according to police.

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