British Couple Jailed for Growing Marijuana for Charity

A British couple in their 60s have received three years in prison for selling marijuana to fund their philanthropic activities in Kenya.

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A man shows a type of marijuana at a farm near Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on October 3 , 2012.

A British couple in their sixties have been jailed for growing marijuana in their back garden. Michael Foster, 62, and Susan Cooper, 63, from Little Sutton in Lincolnshire had been growing the illicit plant on their property for six years undetected by the local police. In fact, the only reason for their arrest was that an officer happened to be chasing a burglar nearby and detected the familiar smell of cannabis.

The couple, who made about $650,000 from selling the drug, dedicated large amounts of their profit to supporting a poor Kenyan village. They paid for the life-saving surgery of a young man who needed his leg amputated, they bought computers for an eye hospital in the village and they helped support children at a local school. The case was described by the Lincoln Crown Court as “the most unusual cannabis growing case of this type”, as the Guardian reported.

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 The police raid on the couple’s home in June 2010 uncovered 159 cannabis plants worth more than $30,000. Two of the buildings on the site were being used as growing and drying rooms. The police officers also discovered a note from a man named ‘Jess’ which led to further investigation of a second property in Norfolk.

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Prosecutor for the case, Jon Dee, explained to the court that the couple “were both in their 60s and were of previous good character,” reported the Guardian. However, that shouldn’t excuse their behavior. “For six years they produced cannabis in significant quantities. This was a professional and commercial set-up,” Dee said. He then addressed the couple on their marijuana production:

“You were growing it on a significant scale, jetting off to Kenya on it. I am sure you were doing good things in Kenya with your drugs money, whether that was to appease your consciences, I can only speculate.”

IBI Times reports that Susan Cooper’s lawyer, Chris Milligan, appealed to the court, noting that his client was “a good person who has done a bad thing.”Gareth Wheetman, Foster’s court representative, emphasized that the couple did not spend the profits of their sales on a lavish lifestyle, writes the Telegraph.

Foster and Cooper have admitted to four charges of producing marijuana and one offence of possessing criminal money. They each received a jail sentence of three years.