Cannabis farmers jailed after £800,000 farm shut down in Gateshead

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The longest sentence will see one of the men jailed for four and a half years.

Cannabis farmers caught live streaming their industrial unit stocked with more than £800,000 worth of drugs have been jailed.

Romanian nationals Edison Sulanjaku, Besnik Cela and Xhenifer Murca appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday where they were sentenced for helping to run and cultivate a series of lucrative farms on Tyneside.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last August, police had been patrolling Westgate Road in Newcastle, when they were alerted to a drug deal taking place, leading to the arrest of Sulanjaku.

Cannabis farmers jailed after £800,000 farm shut down in GatesheadCannabis farmers jailed after £800,000 farm shut down in Gateshead
Cannabis farmers jailed after £800,000 farm shut down in Gateshead

During his arrest, his phone was seized and police saw he had been watching a live stream of an industrial sized farm – which they swiftly tracked down.

The factory on St Omer’s Road in Dunston was shut down with officers recovering almost 2,000 plants all at various stages of growth along with a sophisticated hydroponics set up.

Sulanjaku’s associate, Cela was found inside a caravan on the site and also arrested.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Further evidence linking the men to another site was recovered, leading officers to an address on Lincoln Street, Sunderland – where another 17 kilos of cannabis was seized and Murca – who told police he had illegally entered the country – was arrested.

The men were later charged and on Friday, were sentenced as follows:

  • Edison Sulanjaku, 26, of North Station Avenue, Houghton le Spring, admitted production and possession with intent to supply cannabis and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
  • Besnik Cela, 49, of no fixed abode, admitted production of cannabis and was jailed for 16 months.
  • Xhenifer Muca, 22, of no fixed abode, admitted production and being concerned in the supply of cannabis and was jailed for 18 months.

The men are also due to be deported once they leave prison.

Praising the continued clampdown of illegal drugs, Superintendent Jamie Pitt of Northumbria Police, said: “Thanks to a detailed and comprehensive investigation, these men were faced with no option but to admit their guilt and have now been jailed with their illicit business operation dismantled.

“Cannabis makes organised criminals a lot of money and funds further, more violent crime, often involving human trafficking and slavery, and we urge people to think more carefully about this when they question our continued stance against it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“No one wants to live next door to a cannabis farm or to drug dealers and we’d encourage our communities to continue working with us and sharing concerns with us so we can act.”

Supt Pitt added: “We will continue to tackle those involved in this criminality as well as working with our partners in the local authority and third sector to help identify and support those struggling with addiction as part of our ongoing work with Project Adder.

“It is so often these vulnerable people who are caught up in the middle of this type of criminality and exploited for financial gain, which is why our strategic partnership work will continue.”

Read Newcastle's news on the go with our free email newsletters - bringing the headlines to your inbox. Catch up on the day's news and sport and enjoy even more from the NewcastleWorld team. Visit our website here to find out more and sign up.