A Nottinghamshire man with ties to a ‘well-established’ drugs operation in Grimsby has been sentenced along with two other gang members.
Karolis Rusevicius, of Mapperley Plains, along with Evaldas Medelis and Laminonas Navicka, both of no fixed address, were sentenced today (January 29) at Grimsby Crown Court.
The court heard Rusevicius was allegedly caught in the act of counting out £20,000 in cash when Nottinghamshire Police officers arrested him.
A further search of the Nottinghamshire property revealed a handgun, live ammunition and two large vacuum bags of cannabis.
Forensic evidence that lead to the 27-year-old’s arrest had been found during an investigation of an empty building more than 70 miles away.
Following a report of a suspicious van and a strong smell of cannabis at a property in Bethlehem Street, Grimsby, the court heard a ‘sophisticated and well-established operation had been uncovered’.
Checks on the van revealed it had been reported stolen and it was stopped by our officers a short time later.
Medelis and Navickas were arrested after 80 cannabis plants were found in the back.
A subsequent search of the building uncovered a number of growing areas had been constructed, with hundreds of plants up to 3ft high, along with a sophisticated lighting and watering system.
The electricity supply had also been bypassed.
Officers also discovered a disguised hatch leading into the kitchen of the neighbouring flat, where it was clear the growers had been living.
Detective Constable Philip Jacobs, who led the investigation, linked in with colleagues at Nottinghamshire Police about evidence on Rusevicius.
At sentencing today, Rusevicius was found guilty of production of cannabis, possession of cannabis with intent to supply, two counts of possession of criminal property and possession of a firearm and ammunition following a four day trial.
He was jailed for a total of six and-a-half years.
Evaldas Medelis, 29 and Laminonas Navickas, 23, admitted production of cannabis and were each sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison each.
Welcoming today’s sentencing DC Jacobs of Humberside Police, said: “We come to work every day to keep people safe and targeting organised criminals like this gang is a big part of that.
“I hope this will serve as a warning to other organised crime groups that Humberside is not somewhere where their activities will be tolerated.
“This was a very sophisticated set up – one of the largest I have ever dealt with – and in uncovering it we have prevented them from pocketing more than half a million pounds. We have also taken a gun off the streets.
“This case also shows the importance of getting in touch with us if you have information about crime in your area – this investigation started with a call from the public to report a suspicious van.
“If you have concerns about anything please get in touch. We may not always be able to act straight away but we will always listen and every piece of information we receive contributes to our ongoing investigations and future operations.
“You can speak to your local team, call us on our non-emergency 101 line or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you don’t want to give your name.”