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|Italian police discovered a thousand marijuana plants growing in an abandoned railroad tunnel|
Drug Dogs Pulled From Tunnel In A Swoon
It’s always the smell. Tipped off by the dankness emanating from a suburban street, Italian police discovered a huge subterranean cannabis grow operation in an old railroad tunnel originally built by Benito Mussolini.
The cops in Rome seized what they claimed was 340 kilos of marijuana, and they claimed it was worth three million euros ($3.7 million) on the street, reports Tom Kington of The Guardian. The grow-op was hidden behind a legal mushroom-growing business at the entrance of the tunnel; a fake wall had been built with revolving breeze blocks to conceal the plants.
When police climbed a ladder and looked over a makeshift wall at the back of the mushroom farm, they said they discovered a 43,000-square-foot tunnel housing the growing cannabis.
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Police drug dogs were pulled, swooning, from the tunnel as the smell of a thousand marijuana plants became too much for them. “The high temperatures recently probably made the smell more intense,” speculated one cop.
The underground plantation contained a thousand plants, a drying room, and a vacuum-packing machine, according to authorities. Italian investigators are speculating that it was controlled by one of the nation’s Mafia groups, possibly the Neapolitan Camorra.
“We wore masks when we entered in to stop our heads spinning; I have never seen anything like it,” said Stefano Corsi of the Italian tax police, which led the raid.
The 800-meter stretch of tunnel was built in the 1930s close to underground vaults used by the Bank of Italy. It was supposed to be part of Emperor Mussolini’s urban development in Rome, but was never used due to the outbreak of World War II.
Police found the floor of the tunnel covered with plastic discs which snapped loudly when walked upon, which they said was a primitive warning system for those tending the plants.
Nobody was found tending the plants, but the owner of the mushroom business was arrested. Police claimed they found masks, gloves, overalls and written instructions on how to manage the high-tech watering system.