Tetbury man had mobile cannabis farm in his camper van.
10:46am Monday 20th August 2012 in News
A TETBURY man is beginning a 40-month prison sentence after he was jailed by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court for running a mobile cannabis farm - in a camper van.
Police found the drug growing in the back of a camper van belonging to Robert Migel-Lopez on March 5 this year. The van also contained packages of NRG2, a Class B drug, with a street value of more than £84,000, Gloucester crown court heard.
Migel-Lopez, 36, admitted two charges of possession of NRG2, a Class B drug, with intent to supply and a charge of producing cannabis. His ex-girlfriend Suzanne Seer, 21, admitted being concerned in the sale of cannabis and NRG2, both offences taking place on March 5.
The Crown did not proceed with two charges relating to the supply of Class B drug mephedrone and Recorder David Lane ruled these charges remain on file.
Julian Kesner, prosecuting, said a Highways Agency patrol came across a Ford Focus car on the hard shoulder of the M56 motorway in Cheshire on March 10, 2011.
Migel-Lopez was in the driver’s seat with his head in hands saying 'Oh my god, the pain.'
Police later found a carrier bag in the passenger footwell which contained bags of 1,002 grams of Class B drug NRG2. Mr Kesner said this had a street value of £20,040.
When interviewed by police, Migel-Lopez, of Dobson Court, Chipping Street, Tetbury, said he was a courier who was taking so-called ‘legal highs’ from Bolton to Gloucester.
On March 5 this year, police went to the car park at the George Inn, Cambridge, Glos, where they found a camper van and a Vauxhall combo van with Migel-Lopez and Seer, of Tilsdown Close, Dursley in the front.
Mr Kesner said officers saw Migel-Lopez take a packet from his pocket, put it down the back of his jeans and slip it down his trouser leg. He attempted to eradicate the substance by rubbing it with his foot into the ground.
He was arrested, the material was salvaged and later found to be NRG2.
The camper van, which belonged to Migel-Lopez, was searched and officers found enough NRG for 4,020 ‘street deals’ with a value of £84,259.
The rear of the camper van had been converted into a cannabis farm with 20 plants, oscillating fans, lights and transformers. Analysis revealed a yield of 176 grams of cannabis from the plants with a street value of £1,760.
There were sets of scales in the camper van which were contaminated with cannabis and NRG2 and Migel-Lopez was carrying £215 in cash when arrested.
Mr Kesner said analysis of Seer’s mobile telephone revealed text messages that indicated that she had been involved in the supply of NRG2 and cannabis on behalf of Migel-Lopez.
Mr Kesner said that when interviewed by police, Migel-Lopez said he had been involved in the sale of NRG2 before it was made illegal and the drugs found in his possession were left over.
Seer told police she had, on occasions, had helped supply drugs when asked by couple of their personal friends.
Claire Malvern-White, for Migel-Lopez, said he had been a courier for a company that sold legal highs on the internet. He had taken the substance before it was declared illegal and when the owner of the internet company disappeared, he was left with the drugs.
Miss Malvern-White said he admitted small scale supply on a social basis to people known to him.
He had, she said, learned a significant lesson and he hoped to be a good father to his young son in future.
Jason Coulter, for Seer, said she was a young woman of previous good character who, to some extent, had been guided by her co-defendant in these matters.
The pre-sentence report showed she had been a wholly law-abiding citizen who was fearful of the consequences of her action with low prospects of reoffending, he said.
She deserved maximum credit for her co-operation with police and for her guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, Mr Coulter said.
Recorder Lane sentenced Migel-Lopez to 24 months in prison for the first NRG2 charge, 60 months for the second and 48 months for the cannabis production charge, all to run concurrently.
The judge reduced the total to be served from 60 months to 40 months for his early guilty plea, the sentence further reduced by 106 days he has already spent in custody.
Seer was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, to run concurrently on each charge she faced. She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.