A foreign crime gang caught in a huge cannabis bust in Peterhead were jailed after police seized drugs with a street value of £1 million last year.
Romualdas Galdikas, 43, Arturas Litkinas, 32, Justas Brazinskas, 25, and Tadas Jurjonas, 45, were snared after a series of raids in Peterhead in 2021.
Prosecutor Bill McVicar today told the High Court in Glasgow: “This case involves a large scale, sophisticated and high valued organised crime venture.
“It was operated by a group from Lithuania who came to Peterhead to participate in cannabis cultivation and supply with a substantial street value.”
The four were soon identified as gang members by detectives and surveillance was carried out between January and March 2021.
Police kept watch on a number of properties in the town which had been converted into drug factories and used to produce “multi-kilogramme” hauls of cannabis.
Officers from Police Scotland’s Organised Crime and Counter-Terrorism Unit conducted searches at four properties in the town, alongside colleagues from the local community policing team, on March 22 and March 23 last year, where the four men were arrested.
Galdikas was caught at a two-bedroom house in the town’s Ugie Road.
A total of 77 cannabis plants were found along with other related equipment.
Brazinskas was held after a raid at a flat in Churchill Drive.
Hole in a bedroom floor
The front door had been barricaded with wood. Once inside, officers found the attic had been adapted to a cannabis “drying and preparation” room.
A total of 23.7kg of the drug was seized from there.
A further 5.3kg of cannabis, along with £1780 in cash, was discovered at a house in Kirkburn Drive also linked to Brazinskas.
Another 142 plants were found within the two properties.
Jurjonas was meantime arrested after police swooped at adjoining flats in Queen Street.
A hole had been made in a bedroom floor to gain access between the properties.
300 cannabis plants
Officers this time took away 3.6kg of cannabis and 197 plants following the searches.
The court heard Litinkas had 300 cannabis plants in his Vauxhall Insignia car when he was stopped on the A90 at Stracathro.
Police also found a notepad that appeared to have instructions on temperature for growing the drug.
The court heard the total “wholesale” cost of all the cannabis was around £300,000.
Mr McVicar said the “ultimate value” at “street level” would be far higher although no figure was given.
The four today each pled guilty to separate charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
The hearing was told there is a warrant outstanding for Litkinas in Norway for failing to pay a fine.
Jurjonas also has a previous conviction from Denmark for theft and burglary.
Lord Mulholland remanded them all in custody and adjourned sentencing until March in Aberdeen.
‘No one is untouchable’
Detective Inspector Robin Sim said: “These arrests were part of an intelligence-led operation that had been lengthy and complex and we welcome this conviction.
“We are committed to disrupting the illegal and harmful supply of drugs in our communities.
“We will use every tool and tactic at our disposal to remove these illegal substances from our streets.
“We hope this sends a clear message to anyone who is involved in the supply of drugs onto the streets of Scotland that if you expect to profit from other people’s misery, expect to be targeted by law enforcement.
“No one is untouchable.
“If you have any information or concerns about drug misuse or wider criminality in your area, do not hesitate to contact us on 101 or report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where we will investigate thoroughly.”