A TOTAL of eight men who were involved in a three-year conspiracy which produced roughly £2.5million of cannabis in Rhyl have been jailed.

The defendants were handed jail terms of the following lengths at Caernarfon Crown Court today (December 8):

  • Oltian Salla, 34, of Warstone Lane, Birmingham – four years.
  • Shpetim Kapo, 24, of Town Fields, Doncaster -  three years and eight months.
  • Aranit Kapo, 22, of Manor Oak Gardens, Sheffield – three years and four months.
  • Ardit Lici, 27, of Owler Lane, Sheffield – nine months.
  • Edison Cela, 28, of Owler Lane, Sheffield – nine months.
  • Ronaldo Hazizi, 25, of Catherine Avenue, Doncaster – six months.
  • Besim Kalemi, 23, of Wincobank Avenue, Sheffield - six months.
  • Hasan Hajdari, 20, of Queen Street, Rhyl – four months.

Rhyl Journal: Edison CelaEdison Cela (Image: North Wales Police)

All of the defendants had previously admitted their involvement in the conspiracy, while a further three individuals are yet to be sentenced.

These are brothers Faisall Aslam (48, of Baslow Grove, Bradford), Shakeel and Akeel Aslam (both 50 and of River Street, Rhyl), who are next due in court for a mention hearing on December 11.

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Rhyl Journal: Shpetim KapoShpetim Kapo (Image: North Wales Police)

Prosecuting, Matthew Kerruish-Jones told the court that, in January 2022, a cannabis grow was found at the Lyric Buildings in Rhyl, with 450 plants growing, and 151 having been harvested.

Then, in May 2022, police executed a search warrant at a disused building; 38-40 Kinmel Street, Rhyl.

A pair of men were apprehended after trying to escape, and 223 cannabis plants were found at the premises.

Rhyl Journal: Oltian SallaOltian Salla (Image: North Wales Police)

Data from mobile phones seized showed the conspiracy hierarchy stemmed from a crime group in Birmingham, and a link between Faisall Aslam and his two Rhyl-based brothers.

In December 2022, a warrant was executed at the Conrad Building in Rhyl, which Faisall Aslam had purchased, and where 136 cannabis plants had been harvested.

Then, in February of this year, remnants of cannabis were found fly-tipped in Rhyl, which were connected forensically to Shakeel Aslam.

The Godfather, a property in Rhyl which he owned, was then raided, and cannabis worth £320,000 was found.

Lici and Cela were both gardeners in the operation based at a property on Queen Street, and were seen placing three bags containing 15kg of cannabis into the boot of a vehicle by the address.

A forensic was found between this cannabis grow and Kalemi, who was part of an organised crime group based in Doncaster.

Rhyl Journal: Besim KalemiBesim Kalemi (Image: North Wales Police)

On May 2, 2023, police again raided 38-40 Kinmel Street, where by then, Hajdari was working as a gardener.

Officers found 215 cannabis plants at the premises on that occasion, while Hajdari was apprehended after attempting to flee.

Rhyl Journal: Hasan HajdariHasan Hajdari (Image: North Wales Police)

In total, this three-year conspiracy involved the production of 257kg of cannabis, yielding an estimated street value of £2.57million.

Defending Salla, Rob Crawley conceded that his client fell “fairly and squarely within a leading role”.

But Salla, whose only previous conviction was for an unrelated driving matter and who has temporary leave to remain in the UK, was said to accept his wrongdoing.

Graham Wilson, representing Aranit and Shpetim Kapo, accepted that his clients also had leading roles as part of the Doncaster organised crime groups.

Rhyl Journal: Aranit KapoAranit Kapo (Image: North Wales Police)

But both were only involved in the conspiracy for a year, as opposed to the entire three-year period.

And while Shpetim Kapo had a conviction for production of cannabis, Aranit Kapo was a man of previous good character.

Mitigating for Hazizi, Kalemi and Hajdari, none of whom are residing in the UK legally, Simon Killeen said his clients held a “lesser role” in matters, and all had no previous convictions.

Rhyl Journal: Ronaldo HaziziRonaldo Hazizi (Image: North Wales Police)

Defending Cela, Simon Rogers said his involvement was limited to the Queen Street address, had no previous convictions, now “bitterly regrets” his actions, and wants to return to Albania to be re-united with his family.

Representing Lici, Duncan Bould said he had a “very limited role” in the conspiracy, and had “never been in trouble beforehand at all”.

Rhyl Journal: Ardit LiciArdit Lici (Image: North Wales Police)

Sentencing, Judge Nicola Saffman told the defendants that they had displayed an “utterly brazen attitude”, and were responsible for a “sophisticated, lengthy conspiracy”.

She added: “It is thanks to the diligence of those police officers who spotted the suspicious goings-on, together with the extremely thorough investigation by police, that your criminality was brought to an end.”