Recently, we reported on UK smuggler Philip Baron, who only had to pay the government back £112,000 ($163,199), a;though his cocaine and cannabis empire raked in £30 million ($43.7 million). Earlier this week, it was reported that another British kingpin got off easy for his massive drug operation. In a Proceeds Of Crime hearing, the head of a £200 million (about $286.7 million) weed ring was ordered to pay back a small fraction of his earnings.
On May 27, bud plug Nirmal Saund was ordered to pay back only £2.2 million (about $3.15 million) to the British government for the large scale weed operation. For four years, Saund, ran the ring with his nephew, Darryl Saund and Vietnamese national Cuong Pham. Posing as a prominent businessman with a property development company called The Cayman Group and conjuring elaborate stories, Saund was able to lease 19 facilities across 13 UK locales. He would equip these facilities with hydroponic grow systems, then train and hire individuals from the Vietnamese community to be gardeners. Over a four year period, Saund’s organization made £50 million (about $71.7 million) annually, with this setup. With funds earned, Saund would cop luxury cars and plush homes.
However, an investigation was launched into the Saund family, when some of the weed factories were discovered by law enforcement. The discovery led authorities to raid other locations, which resulted in the confiscation of 12,000 weed plants worth over £4.75 million. Also seized from Saund’s home were £37,000(about $53,000) in Scottish Bank notes and computers containing information relating to the drug operation.
In October 2014, Saund was pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce a controlled drug. He was sentenced to ten years and six months in jail. Darryl Saund and Pham were also convicted, respectively serving sentences of nine and six years. Darryl was also ordered to pay the government back,to the tune of £114,115 (about $163,634). If Nirmal Saund does not pay his £2.2 million tab within three months, he will have ten more years tacked onto his sentence.