BRUTAL south-east Asian trafficking gangs are today exposed as the sinister force behind Scotland’s hash farm trade – with £40MILLION of pot already seized by cops. The invasion of the drug lords harvest cannabis in homes across Scotland.
In just over four years, police battling the immigrant drug gangs have seized enough plants to cover thr MCG, Subiaco Oval and the AAMI Stadium.
They had been converted into drug farms by trafficked workers to rake in a fortune from the illegal trade.
Of 304 people arrested three in four were Chinese, and 22 per cent were from Vietnam, mostly VICTIMS of the evil drug barons.
Cops declaring war on the brutal gangs and have seized 130,716 plants seized on 278 farms.
Last night Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency chief Gordon Meldrum said: “These are not the kind of neighbours anyone wants – or needs.
“These illegal and highly dangerous cultivations are quite literally on people’s doorsteps.
“They won’t care about your quality of life, or if your home goes up in smoke because of the risks they take to make profit.
“We need people to be the eyes and ears of their communities, and hopefully by outlining some key signs people will be able to help us identify where more of these operations are taking place.”
Det Supt Tommy Tague, leading the Scottish Intelligence Co-ordination Unit crackdown, added: “The south-east Asians are a closed group that are not easy to infiltrate.
“They have been in the business of cannabis cultivation for a long time and, as a result, they are good at it.
“There is a very clear structure in these groups with the gardeners at the bottom and the so-called Mr Big at the top.
“It is the people at the top that we are most interested in – our purpose is to target them and put them out of business.
“They try to stay one step ahead but we are gathering intelligence about them on a constant basis. And we will take them down.”
The south-east Asian trafficking gangs behind the farms force victims from their own countries to grow the evil drugs.
A cop source said: “They think they are coming over to Scotland for a good job but end up labouring in a large-scale cannabis farm.
“Their passports are taken off them and they are forced to work in the most horrendous conditions. The powerful lights used to grow these plants means they are at constant risk of being caught up in a fire.
“Yet these are the people who are usually arrested and sent to jail while their bosses simply start up another farm elsewhere.
“But we are determined to get these Mr Bigs. We do not want them here.
“They contribute nothing but sheer and utter misery.”
Mr MacAskill said last night: “The fact that so many of the individuals involved in cannabis cultivation are of south-east Asian origin should not be seen as us targeting a community.
“But it would be negligent if we refused to acknowledge that reality. Working together we can make our communities safe places in which to live.”
The set-up costs for a cultivation are estimated at around £10,000 to £20,000.
They on average have 500 plants, with each plant producing around £300 worth of product per year.
That creates an estimated annual profit of around $230,000 a year for serious organised crime groups.
A typical farm uses around 200,000 kilowatts of energy per year, enough to power one family home for 36 years, or boil 1.4million litres of water.