Three members of a family have pleaded guilty to running a multi-million pound cannabis production and supply business from a West Wales property specially selected for its isolated location.
Husband and wife Edward and Linda McCann and their adult son Daniel moved from Hampshire to a remote Carmarthenshire house with a large barn where they worked with two local men, Jack Whittock and Justin Liles, on a drug operation in ” industrial scale. In addition to producing and supplying cannabis, the plot also involved using the harvest to make products such as cannabis oil and cannabis-infused chocolate.
The defendants radically changed their pleas and admitted their role in the operation on the second day of their trial at Swansea Crown Court. In light of the guilty pleas, the prosecution presented no evidence against the McCanns’ daughter, Samantha, and she was officially found not guilty.
Read more: How a brazen £100,000 armed robbery led police to crush a £2million organized crime group trafficking huge amounts of cocaine in South Wales
Opening the case for the prosecution, barrister Ian Wright told the court that on October 23, 2020, police executed a search warrant at a remote property in the village of Cwmbach near Whitland in Carmarthenshire. He said officers forced entry into a large outbuilding next to a detached house on the land and found a “sophisticated and well-organized cannabis production operation”.
The ground floor of the barn had been divided into six grow rooms and a main grow area, and was equipped with lights and extractor fans. In total there were some 202 plants in various stages of maturity, from saplings in the propagators to a large “mother” plant from which cuttings were taken. The barn floor served as a production area with a table and chairs, tools including pruning shears, and drying racks on which the harvested cannabis plants were dried. The lawyer told court police he had also found a machine to seal tins – canned cannabis, he said, was an “emerging trend” in the UK as he kept the drug fresher and increased its longevity – as well as equipment to extract cannabis oil from cannabis plants. , and an industrial-sized oven with trays covered in cannabis residue. The barn’s power supply had been bypassed and a shielded cable connected the building directly to a utility pole.
The court heard that as well as the plants themselves – which had a potential value of up to £460,000 – officers also recovered around 80kg of ‘cannabis product’ worth up to £400,000. at £1.5 million.
Meanwhile, a search of the house next to the barn revealed £10,000 in cash divided into individual lots of £1,000 in the front bedroom and a cannabis-infused chocolate bar on the kitchen table. Read about a drug dealer who ran a “cottage industry” supplying a line of cannabis-infused Oreo cakes and other “edibles” from his backyard shed.
Mr Wright said it was the prosecution’s case that the defendants were involved in an ‘industrial-scale cannabis operation’ producing not just the drug itself but products such as oil cannabis and “edibles”. He said the remote property had been carefully selected by the McCanns after considerable research, and it “ticked all the boxes” in terms of being a good place to conduct the clandestine drug operation. Read the story of a dealer who ran a “cannabis shop” from his home and was scolded after a postman sniffed something up.
Edward McCann, 61, of Cwmbach, Whitland, Carmarthenshire; Linda McCann, 59, of Cwmbach, Whitland, Carmarthenshire; Daniel Edward McCann, 36, of Waterlooville, Hampshire; Justin James David Liles, 31, of St Clears, Carmarthenshire; and Jack Whittock, 28, of Llanteg, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce and supply cannabis between 2015 and 2020, and acquiring criminal property, including money, when ‘they were taken back to the jury. Additionally, Edward and Daniel McCann pleaded guilty to a separate conspiracy involving the production and supply of cannabis in Hampshire between 2013 and 2015.
The jury was instructed to convict the defendants of the charges, which it did
The prosecution lawyer told the court that in light of the pleas, no evidence would be presented against Samantha McCann, 25, of Bristol, and the jury was instructed to find her not guilty.
Sentencing in this case has been adjourned to a date to be fixed and the court heard that an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act is currently underway.
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