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Police raid Vietnamese cannabis factory March 16, 2006 - guardian.co.uk
? Police crackdown on homegrown drug industry ? Seven held in attempt to break up gangs
Police raided a cannabis factory and arrested seven people in London yesterday as part of a crackdown on criminal gangs involved in the multimillion-pound cultivation of the drug.
More than 20 officers raided a four-storey terrace house in a residential street in Woolwich, south-east London, where they discovered 800 cannabis plants.
Four men tried to flee but police seized them next door, along with another man and two women. Electricity workers had to make the property safe as it appeared the electricity meter had been bypassed to draw the large amount of power required to grow the cannabis plants hydroponically.
Detective Chief Superintendent Sharon Kerr, of Scotland Yard's specialist crime directorate, said the "factory" was one of about 300 discovered by her officers across London in the past year.
"These are just the ones we know about," she said. "We are talking about ordinary terrace or semi-detached houses in quiet streets, specifically bought or rented for the sole purpose of growing cannabis.
"These houses, kitted out with special hydroponic equipment, can produce ?70,000-worth of cannabis every 11 or 12 weeks, raking in big profits for the organisers, who are predominantly Vietnamese."
The smashing of cannabis production gangs is part of the Metropolitan police's new approach to combating organised crime by focusing on major criminal networks, rather than individuals, involved in illegal activity.
Around 70% of the UK's organised crime networks are based in London and the Met is targeting 170 of the capital's most serious cartels.
Anna Aquilina, specialist crime directorate strategy adviser, said 47% of the crime networks are cultural. Their members come from the same country or ethnic background and speak the same language; 42% grew up in the same neighbourhood or were in jail together; 9% are in the same family and 2% are virtual; they may never meet but communicate by phone or internet.
Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, head of the specialist crime directorate, said globalisation, economic migration and the rapid growth of technology had made London a hub for criminals from all over the world.
He said it was difficult to persuade those from communities more recently established in the United Kingdom to come forward. "To get some of these people to engage with us, there will have to be a radical rethink around witness protection," he said. "In many cases, it cannot be thought in terms of individuals. Whole families, clans even, have to be considered, and there is sometimes an international dimension."
? Scotland Yard has smashed 300 suburban cannabis factories in London in the past year
? The average factory may produce ?70,000-worth of cannabis every 11 or 12 weeks - worth about ?250,000-?300,000 a year
? Police are trying to track factories by getting electricity companies to check abnormally high power usage, although many growers bypass meters with "jump boxes" or generators
damn seems cops are getting more and more bigger busts.
-------------------- At times I get consumed by my everyday life and will leave the Shroomery. Yet, every time drugs come falling into my life for fun.....I always think about the Shroomery and then I'm back!