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Rome police bust massive marijuana plantation under Bank of Italy

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Tipped off by the strong smell wafting into a suburban street, police in Rome have discovered a massive underground marijuana plantation in a disused railway tunnel built by Mussolini.

Police seized 340kg of marijuana – with a street value of €3m (£2.36m) – from the plantation, which was lit by powerful halogen lamps and hidden behind a legitimate mushroom-growing business at the entrance to the tunnel. A fake wall had been built with revolving breeze blocks to conceal the marijuana plants.

The scale of the 4,000m³ plantation, which contained 1,000 plants, a drying room for harvested plants and a vacuum-packing machine, has led investigators to suspect one of Italy‘s mafia groups was behind it – 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 Italy’s tax police, which mounted the raid.

Built in the 1930s under the Tor Pignattara neighbourhood and close to underground vaults used by the Bank of Italy, the 800m stretch of tunnel was part of Mussolini’s redevelopment of Rome, but was never used due to the outbreak of the second world war.

Entering the tunnel, police found the floor littered with plastic discs that snapped loudly underfoot – a rudimentary warning system for those inside. Police sniffer dogs were then pulled out of the tunnel as the growing smell of hundreds of plants became too strong for them.

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“The high temperatures recently probably made the smell more intense,” said one police official.

The owner of the mushroom-growing business was arrested, but no one was found working in the plantation, although police found masks, gloves, overalls and written instructions on how to manage the complex watering system used for the plants.

[Cannabis via Shutterstock]

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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