Police in Wiltshire Council, in the UK, uncovered a massive weed farm worth £1 million ($1.26 million) inside a nuclear bunker built in 1985 to protect government officials and local dignitaries in the event of a nuclear attack.
The fact that Mashable and other millennial-focused sites picked up the story might make you think that this is a semi-humorous and quirky story, especially the part where it is named ‘Stonerhenge, ’ but there’s a dark underbelly to the facts the beg for investigation and reform.
The Ministry of Defence and shut down in 1992 and how it came to be converted into a cannabis cave is wholly unknown as of yet but the structure, police report, is so impenetrable it’s not too surprising that it went undiscovered for so long. Officers apparently had to wait for three people to leave just so that they could gain access to the bunker and make the necessary arrests.
Says Wiltshire detective inspector, Paul Franklin, “There are approximately 20 rooms in the building, split over two floors, each 200 feet long and 70 feet wide. Almost every single room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis plants, and there was a large amount of evidence of previous crops. This was an enormous setup.”
Of those arrested, and here’s where it gets grim, were three three undocumented immigrants, aged 15, 19 and 37, all of “who were held there against their will, not allowed to leave and forced to work as gardeners” in the marijuana factory,” according to Franklin. The three are believed to be victims of human trafficking. “They were forced to sleep inside the bunker, which is all built in concrete, so it’s like living underground.”
That leaves the three remaining men—the ones who were arrested leaving the bunker—with charges of illegal cannabis production and human trafficking. Those men are aged 27, 30 and 45, and according to Franklin are not the only ones using illegal immigrants to cultivate marijuana farms in the United Kingdom. The phenomenon is quite common, says the detective inspector and further investigations are underway.