Eight defendants were given prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to 40,000 euros on Friday for their involvement in setting up five cannabis plantations and the associated theft of water and electricity. The criminal court of Antwerp declared a total of 635,000 euros in illegal capital gains as well as three vehicles forfeited.
The local criminal investigation department of the Antwerp police zone was tipped off in 2018 that an Eastern European man managed several cannabis plantations, including at Charlottalei in Hemiksem. Further investigation, including observations and wiretapped conversations, identified the eight defendants and yielded four other plantations. The investigators raided thirteen addresses in February 2019.
Active plantations with a total of more than three thousand plants were found in buildings on Charlottalei in Hemiksem, Nachtegalendreef in Grobbendonk and on Edward Claessenslaan in Niel. The plantation in Temse had already been dismantled and the one in Beveren was still under construction.
According to the public prosecutor, the brothers Adat, Ferat and Rifat A. were the key figures in the case. They took care of the construction of the plantations, arranged staff to care for the plants and maintained contacts with suppliers and buyers. The public prosecutor’s office was of the opinion that a total of more than 1.2 million euros had been earned from the plantations.
The brothers minimized or even denied their involvement in the plantations, but the court found their guilt proven. They were each sentenced to five years in prison. Four co-defendants had helped them with the maintenance of the plantations. A fifth rented out the property in Grobbendonk and, according to the court, was aware of the plantation. They received prison sentences of between one year and forty months.
Fluvius filed a civil action for the theft of electricity, which was tapped off before the meter, and was awarded damages.