TWO men accused of involvement in a “million pound” Whitehaven cannabis supply enterprise allegedly run by an organised crime gang have appeared in court.
Albanian nationals Xhona Leka, 28, and Gjergi Braculla, 39, jointly face two charges.
One alleges the possession of cannabis with intent to supply, at Whitehaven yesterday, May 24, while a second charges alleges production of the class B drug on the same date.
Leka, of The Dene, Wembley, North London, appeared first at North and West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court in Carlisle this morning (MON).
Prosecutor Tom Snape told two magistrates when dark haired Leka – wearing a grey sweatshirt – was produced in the court dock alongside two security staff members: “This allegation concerns cannabis being produced at an address (in) Lowther Street, Whitehaven.
“Police say there were 1,300 cannabis plants at that address and suggest this is a million pound enterprise by an organised crime gang.”
Braculla, of Archdale Place, New Malden, Kingston upon Thames – appeared in court, separately, around an hour later. Bearded and also wearing a grey sweatshirt, he pleaded not guilty to both charges when they were read to him by the clerk.
Magistrates committed the case to Carlisle Crown Court, where a plea and trial preparation hearing for the two men is due to take place in front of a judge on June 26.
Leka and Braculla – who was assisted by an interpreter dialling into the hearing over a phone line – were both remanded in custody by magistrates after applications for bail made by their respective solicitors were refused.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101, email [email protected], or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting log 27 of the 24th May 2020.