A LITHUANIAN man who came to the UK specifically to make bundles of cash by growing cannabis - due to England’s more lenient sentences - has been jailed for nearly four years.
Romualdas Dragunas, 32, was found next to a camping bed on the first floor of a disused property in Goldthorpe which had been converted into an ‘extensive and sophisticated cannabis-growing operation’ replete with heating, lighting and ventilation systems.
He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday.
Police found a cannabis grow ‘still in its infancy’ and 328g of marijuana, prosecutor Beverley Wright said.
She added the electricity supply had been abstracted or ‘compromised’, but Dragunas ultimately claimed only to be a cannabis gardener rather than sole operator of the cannabis farm.
He was arrested and taken to Churchfields Police Station in the town centre where, with the help of an interpreter, he made full confessions.
The court heard he had come to the UK from Lithuania ‘to grow cannabis because the UK courts were more lenient on offenders than their Lithuanian counterparts’.
He had come to the country ‘equipped with £25,000, with the specific intention of growing cannabis in the UK and sending the money back to Lithuania’.
The amount of money he hoped to make in the UK would ‘fetch handsome rewards’ in his homeland.
However, police were somewhat sceptical about his claims that he had set up the cannabis operation alone, given the sophisticated equipment.
Dragunas, of no fixed address, was charged with cannabis production and pleaded guilty, but changed his account as to his role in the operation.
He claimed he wasn’t in fact the ‘sole instigator’ but a cannabis gardener who had been offered £15,000 to £20,000 to look after the grow by people higher up the chain.
The prosecution accepted his basis of plea for sentencing purposes and Dragunas appeared for sentencing on Monday.
Ms Wright said that Dragunas was due to be deported once he had finished the inevitable prison sentence.
Judge Michael Slater jailed Dragunas for three years and nine months, although he would only have to serve half that sentence behind bars before being released on licence.( Mr Slater added it would be down to the immigration authorities to decide if Dragunas would be deported.