The court in Liberec sentenced two cannabis smugglers to Britain to 10.5 and 11.5 years in prison

The court in Liberec sentenced two cannabis smugglers to Britain to 10.5 and 11.5 years in prison

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Regional court – building, seat – illustration photo.

Liberec – The court in Liberec today imposed sentences of 10.5 and 11.5 years in prison on two men from Českolipsk who smuggled large amounts of marijuana from the Czech Republic to Great Britain and Ireland. Both confessed their guilt with a so-called declaration, they were threatened with up to 18 years in prison. It emerged from the indictment that they had to send at least kilograms of cannabis to Britain, for which they received at least millions of crowns. The police did not determine the exact amount. The verdict is not final, the public prosecutor and the defendants have kept a period of time to think about the amount of the punishment.

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The court dealt with the smuggling of marijuana in a case involving drug crimes and a nearly five-million loan fraud. Eight people were charged in the case. In addition to the two smugglers, three other defendants who grew, bought and sold marijuana in the Czech Republic heard the verdict today. They also pleaded guilty in a statement and the court sentenced them to six years in prison and fines of 150,000 or 210,000 crowns.

According to the police, an organized group smuggled marijuana into Britain for a long time. The indictment covered a period of about a year from the end of January 2021 and about 60 shipments containing drugs or money for them.

According to the judgment, thirty-nine-year-old Jan Hlavačík was in charge of organizing the export of cannabis abroad, and the court sentenced him to 11.5 years in prison. Thirty-two-year-old Filip Oppelt, whom Hlavačík had tasked, received a one-year lesser sentence. The chairman of the senate, Richard Skýba, said that in view of the declaration of guilt, the senate imposed sentences on them at the lower limit of the criminal rate, which was ten years for them.

“I consider the punishments to be moderate,” State Attorney Petra Pazderková told journalists. Originally, she suggested 14 years for Hlavačík and 12.5 years for Oppelt, based on their guilty pleas, she requested 13 years and 11.5 years for them. However, he will decide on the possible filing of an appeal when he receives the judgment in written form.

Due to the amount of the sentence, the defendants may also appeal. “The declaration of guilt is a significant mitigating circumstance, of course, from our point of view, it should have been taken into account even more. This will possibly be the subject of further proceedings. On the other hand, it is really necessary to look at the whole matter comprehensively, and at this moment I do not want to get ahead of myself,” Jakub Beránek told journalists, Oppelt's defense attorney when asked whether they will file an appeal.

The court also decided today to confiscate mobile phones, a laptop, equipment used for the production of marijuana, and two of Hlavačík's cars – a Mercedes Benz and a Porsche Panamera. In addition, Hlavačík must pay almost 100,000 crowns for the illegal consumption of electricity for a small cannabis plant he had in Svojkov.

Cannabis was brought into Britain by smugglers via multinational shipping companies who had no idea they were transporting drugs. Smugglers hid marijuana in bread bins or trash cans and labeled the shipped goods as kitchen goods. One shipment contained up to a kilogram of cannabis.

Oppelt sent shipments containing drugs abroad under false names from various places in Českolipska or Mladá Boleslav. The true identity of the recipients in Britain could not be established during the investigation. In connection with this case, there is only one person prosecuted in Britain, namely Keiran Lynch.

Shipments with money, which were hidden in loudspeakers, went in the opposite direction, i.e. to the Czech Republic. Several insured shipments contained between 4,700 and 10,000 euros (approx. 110,000 to 230,000 CZK). Shipments were received by Oppelt or his partner or his mother, again under fictitious names.

Smugglers obtained the drugs from several of their cultivation facilities in Českolipska or bought them from other domestic cannabis growers. In this particular case, three were prosecuted, fifty-five-year-old Jan Mrkvička and his two sons. Even in their case, today's verdict is not final, both sides kept a period of time to think it over.