Eastville man jailed for role in cannabis growing gang
AN Eastville man has been jailed for his role in a cannabis growing operation that produced drugs worth more than £1 million on the street from each harvest.
Alessandro Carbone, aged 46, from Glen Park, was one of six members of an organised gang who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to produce cannabis following an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit.
A court heard the men used an industrial unit in Birkenhead, Merseyside, where more than 600 plants were spread over three floors, and a house in Easton to grow the plants, bypassing electricity supplies to provide the large amount of power required.
Four of the men were arrested as they headed back to Bristol after visiting Birkenhead in October 2019, in vans containing harvested cannabis, soil and plant waste.
Carbone (below) and a sixth man were arrested a fortnight later in Brislington, where £19,000 in cash was seized from a bedroom and a further £50,000 worth of cannabis was found in a car boot.
He was sentenced to four years in prison, while the other gang members, from other parts of Bristol and South Gloucestershire, were jailed for between 22 months and four-and-a-half years, at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year.
The gang's use of motor trade insurance policies to try and distance themselves from ten vehicles used in the production and distribution of the drugs was uncovered by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which provided evidence for the police investigation.
Detective Inspector Charlotte Tucker said the men had created an "enormous and sophisticated set-up which was capable of generating £1.3 to £1.9 million worth of cannabis each harvest".
Authorities will now work to recover the money they made through the crime.
Top picture: Some of the cannabis the gang was growing on Merseyside