Illegal immigrant faces deportation after Doncaster drugs factory bust

An illegal immigrant with a previous conviction for looking after cannabis plants has been jailed and faces deportation after he was caught overseeing another drug harvest in Doncaster.

By Jon Cooper
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 10:04 am
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2022, 10:04 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Ruzhdie Raga, aged 29, was found at a property on Alexandra Road, Balby, with 224 cannabis plants across different rooms with growing equipment and by-passed electricity.

Ryan Donoghue, prosecuting, said police forced entry to the locked property as part of an immigration investigation relating to another person but they discovered the cannabis harvest, growing equipment and that the electricity had been by-passed.

Albanian-speaking Raga was also found at the property with £512 in cash and a mobile phone with evidence that the property was being lived in, according to Mr Donoghue.

Ruzhdie Raga was jailed and now faces deportation.

Judge David Dixon told Raga: “This was obviously a commercial grow producing substantial quantities of cannabis. The set-up is proficient and professional and there are various indications of by-passing electricity and the like.”

Raga claimed to police that he had been in Bradford when he had been approached by people and was offered cleaning work before he was taken to Alexandra Road and paid for watering the plants.

The defendant, of Exmouth Place, Bradford, who has a previous conviction for a similar offence from October, 2020, pleaded guilty to producing class B drug cannabis after the raid on June 21, this year.

Chris Brewin, defending, said: “My client maintains the account he met someone in Bradford and he was taken to this property with the expectation initially of doing some cleaning work.

“He said he had been at the property five days and during that time he had taken on the responsibility of watering the plants twice-a-day."

Judge Dixon, who did not accept Raga’s account about taking a cleaning job, sentenced him to three years of custody and confiscated the £512 cash to help fund the fight against drugs.

He told Raga: “You had a previous conviction and you were carrying out this operation while you should have been deported from the UK.”

Judge Dixon added that after Raga has served his time behind bars he expects the Home Office to finally deport him.

He said: “I expect the Home Office to deport you as they should have done before - preventing this offence if they had.”