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Top crime boss jailed for running cannabis farms

A top crime boss who was caught running two cannabis farms in Scotland has been jailed for eight years.

Ilir Kasa, 52, was said to be a “senior member” of an organised crime group.

The Albanian national was arrested following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Police Scotland.

In April 2022, he was spotted by officers from the joint Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland) attending two properties – one in Glasgow and another in Harthill, North Lanarkshire.

When officers raided the Glasgow property – a former bank on Great Western Road – they found more than 350 cannabis plants and sophisticated systems for planting, growing and irrigation.

A similar set-up and a further 150 plants were discovered at the Harthill site on West Main Street.

NCA experts valued the combined haul of the cannabis at more than £300,000.

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Kasa left the country following the raids but was arrested in Stepps, North Lanarkshire, two months later in July 2022 when he returned to Scotland.

Michael Miller, NCA branch operations manager, said: “Kasa was a senior member of an organised crime group responsible for running cannabis farms in locations across the Central Belt of Scotland.

“His was a lucrative business. The plants we recovered would have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds of profit for his criminal group, which no doubt would have been reinvested in further criminality.”

Ilir Kasa's cannabis farm in Harthill. Pic: National Crime Agency
Image: The cannabis farm in Harthill. Pic: National Crime Agency

Kasa was found guilty of producing the class B drug following a trial at the High Court in Stirling and has now been jailed.

Judge Craig described the cannabis production as a “commercial and sophisticated operation”.

The judge added: “There is no suggestion that you were coerced or pressurised into being involved. And in the various CCTV recordings showing you procuring items for the cannabis farms, you appeared to be taking an informed and active role.”

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The court heard how Kasa previously received a jail sentence and had £21,500 confiscated after being convicted of being in possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

Judge Craig noted: “In your evidence you gave a very careful answer that you did not know how to produce or supply cannabis, which was sufficiently precise not to entitle the advocate depute to ask about your previous conviction.

“But it is clear that you have been involved in the drugs business at a serious level, and indeed all of the charges include serious organised crime aggravations.”

Following the case, Detective Inspector Alan Cuthbert urged all those with concerns about drugs in their area to report it to Police Scotland or anonymously via Crimestoppers.

DI Cuthbert added: “This conviction and sentencing sends a clear message to anyone who is involved in organised crime that the supply of illegal substances will not be tolerated in our communities.”

Sky News Source