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Cannabis 'gardener' was taped talking on phone to drug kingpin

By West Briton  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

Christopher Snow.

Christopher Snow.

A CANNABIS- GROWER has been spared a jail sentence for his part in a major drugs ring, which included working as a "gardener" during a harvest in Penzance.

Christopher Snow, 29, whose address was given as Carrine Way, Truro, was the final defendant to be sentenced in a police investigation into drug-related activities in Cornwall called Operation Ipanema.

It uncovered a cannabis plantation at Causewayhead, Penzance, which was later valued between £26,000 and £33,000.

Snow was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, when he appeared before a judge at Truro Crown Court on Wednesday.

The first phase of Operation Ipanema focused on organised crime in the Falmouth area. In June, 21 people received prison sentences totalling more than 100 years.

Officers caught the second group of defendants by placing a recording device in the car of ringleader Angelo Kortje, who has since absconded to Spain and is being sought by police.

On April 6, 2011, Kortje was found to be driving to Cornwall to check on cannabis plants in Penzance, which were due to be harvested. This led police to Snow, who was recorded having phone conversations with Kortje during the journey.

Ms Cassel said Snow, who admitted conspiring to produce cannabis and transferring a total of £5,100 of criminal property, was employed by the pair as a "gardener".

The investigating team followed members of the group, stopping Kortje on a number of occasions and seizing cannabis worth £6,000 from Snow on April 7.

Robert Linford, for the defence, said Snow was a Type 1 diabetic, a condition which was out of control and causing him to lose the sight in one eye.

He said: "He performed, without any doubt, under the direction of others."

Judge John Neligan said Snow's condition meant he was not suitable for an unpaid work order.

In October four other men, from Cornwall and Birkenshaw, West Yorkshire, were sentenced to a total of eight years in prison for their parts in the offences.