Four men have been jailed for a combined total of nine years after police uncovered an industrial-scale cannabis farm containing £670,000 worth of the drug at a property in Droylsden earlier this year. Yesterday (23 November 2021), Alban Xhika (DOB 09/09/1990), Erin Canaj (DOB 05/04/1987), Andri Koci (DOB 04/06/1997), and Saimir Doda (DOB 24/05/1991), all of no fixed abode, were each sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court to 27 months in prison.The four men, who were believed to have been living at the Droylsden property at the time of their arrest, were charged with production of cannabis.
They pleaded guilty at Minshull Street Crown Court at an earlier hearing. After receiving intelligence to indicate illicit activities, officers conducted a raid at Gartside Farm, Sunnyside Lane, Droylsden, in February 2021 and uncovered a large-scale drugs operation, the court heard. Police searched the farm for over 10 hours and used extensive resources to conduct an in-depth search. During the search, detectives uncovered a total of 715 cannabis plants valued at £670,000. Among the equipment seized were three industrial-sized generators.
The action forms part of Operation Challenger, a dedicated operation tackling serious organised crime across the Greater Manchester districts. Detective Constable Rick McIvor, of Tameside’s Operation Challenger unit, said: “This was a very sophisticated and large-scale operation and it took officers hours to search through the farm removing plants and equipment. “The planning and execution of this operation would not have been possible without the assistance of several other departments within GMP who came together as a team to achieve our goal. “Exposing and removing this quantity and cannabis marks another positive step forward in our work to disrupt the activity of organised criminals who seek to profit from the sale of illegal drugs.