The Northern Echo
A gang of Albanian cannabis dealers have been locked up after they were caught with £200,000 worth of the drug.
The four illegal immigrants ended up in a terraced house in Hartlepool where a significant drug dealing operation was set up.
Teesside Crown Court heard how police recovered ten kilos of the drug when they searched the house on Chester Road in January this year.
They also recovered a ‘tick list’ and documents showing how the gang of four would split the profits from the wholesale of the Class B drug.
David Hewitt, prosecuting, said the men were discovered hiding in the bedroom of the property where the drug was also stashed.
He said: “Within a wardrobe in the bedroom the police found a significant amount of cannabis bush, It was stored in the wardrobe and appeared to be stored for wholesale purposes.”
Mr Hewitt said the drugs were valued at between £80,000 and £120,000 at wholesale cost and around £200,000 on the streets.
The court heard how some paperwork was also recovered by officers showing how the gang would make £5,900 each in profit from one deal.
Zenel Tusha, 26; Mirush Tusha, 23; Leo Metushi, 38; and 23-year-old Petrit Tusha, all of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
Rod Hunt, representing Metushi, said his client had ‘succumbed to temptation’ after failing to secure work after arriving in the UK.
Kate Barnes, representing Petrit Tusha, told the court that her client had only moved to the North East after fleeing Sheffield after arriving in the country in the ‘back of a lorry’.
And Stephen Constantine, for Zenel Tusha, said his client had applied for asylum after arriving illegally in the country and also fled Sheffield before ending up in Hartlepool with his brother Petrit.
While Michael Cahill, speaking on behalf of Mirush Tusha, said his client had only become involved in the drug operation to clear his debts in his native Albania.
Judge Jonathan Carroll said: “It’s quite clear that all four of you quickly immersed yourselves into criminal enterprises.
“All four of you were in the Teesside area involved in substantial, commercial, large-scale cannabis production. There is a well-established, significant issue in this area with Albanian drug gangs doing precisely this.
“It comes a point when sentences must have a deterrent element. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not accept that any of you were trafficked into this business, you knew what you were doing, were willing participants in something that you were going to make significant financial gain.”
Metushi and Zenel Tusha were jailed for 20 months each while Petrit and Mirush Tusha were both locked up for 19 months each.