Sheffield judge warns illegal immigrant he is to deported over £44,000 cannabis stash

Police recovered a £44,000 cannabis stash from a couple’s home after being tipped off by immigration officers.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 2:26 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on October 8 how immigration officers contacted South Yorkshire Police after visited the home of Lutfi Ruci and Elena Gheorghe, on Rowan Drive, Bramley, Rotherham, and finding 11kg of the class B drug in a bedroom.

Brian Outwaite, prosecuting, said immigration officers were carrying out checks on the occupants of the rented property when they found the drugs and alerted police.

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Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, has heard how police found about £44,000 worth of cannabis at a couple's South Yorkshire home.

He added: “Officers who attended made a search and in total 11 vacuum-packed bags were recovered from the premises with a total of 11kg with a value of £44,000.”

Police also found scales as well as cash totalling £1,061.28, with notepads indicating a large scale drug operation, according to Mr Outhwaite.

Albanian-speaking Ruci, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply after the discovery on May 19, 2021.

Romanian-speaking Gheorghe, who is also of previous good character, pleaded guilty to allowing her home to be used for the supply of cannabis.

The court heard 30-year-old Ruci had come into the UK illegally but 27-year-old Gheorghe is in the UK lawfully. She had been working in the sex industry in Scotland before meeting Ruci online and forming a relationship.

Mohammed Qazi, defending, said Ruci owed money to a third party who had made arrangements for him to enter the country, but he will now be deported after he has served his sentence.

Recorder Anthony Hawks said he was prepared to accept Ruci had been manipulated by those he owed money to but the defendant had still played a significant role in a large-scale drug operation.

He sentenced Ruci to 15 months of custody, which means he will be released shortly because of the time spent remanded in custody waiting for his case to reach court. He will face deportation from the UK upon his release.

Recorder Hawks told Gheorghe: “I am satisfied you played a minor role in this enterprise and you have been remanded in custody since your arrest.”

He sentenced Gheorghe to six months of custody which means she was released because she had already spent so much time on remand prior to her sentencing.

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