Cannabis plantation discovered

Two suspects have appeared in court at Albergaria-a-Velha on charges of cultivating a cannabis plantation. The plants covered a 40 square metre settlement in a farmstead in the suburbs of Angeja, a rural zone a few kilometres from Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.

The plantation owners, a 46-year-old gardener and his 20-year-old son, had grown the plants behind high walls. But, although they tried to be discreet, they were unable to hide the pungent smell emanating from the plants, which made neighbours and, subsequently, local GNR officers, suspicious.

The seizure marks the biggest haul of its kind in recent years, not so much in terms of the overall weight, 160 kilos, but in terms of the height and maturity of the plants – some were around two-and-a-half metres high. A source from the GNR in Águeda said that “after drying, 160 kilos of cannabis could be enough to create 64,000 doses of the drug, reaping thousands of euros in street value!

Hundreds of dry leaves were seized during the operation, as well as seeds and other materials. When the police called at the house at 7.30am, only the gardener could be found at home. Police said he was responsible for the regulation and conservation of the plant, as he was more knowledgeable about gardening.

Cannabis is now considered a fashionable drug on Portuguese streets, as it is more accessible than other drugs. “It is one of those situations we have been monitoring for a long time but the phenomenon of cannabis plantations in Portugal is not particularly disturbing to us,” said a source from the Central Directorate of Investigations into Drug Trafficking. The change that is considered particularly worrying is the size of the plants seized.