UK: Former Premier League player arrested after 1,000 cannabis plants are discovered growing in his basement

Geoffrey Mujangi Bia allegedly told authorities that he was renting out his basement and was unaware of the grow.

Leader Post reports

It’s safe to say that Geoffrey Mujangi Bia is not enjoying the UEFA European Championship much at the moment.

The former Premier League winger has other things to attend to. Mainly, the more than 1,000 cannabis plants that were discovered in the basement of his Belgian home by police earlier this week.

According to a report in Belgian newspaper, Bia called the power company to report a power failure in his building. The responding workers noticed a “strong smell of cannabis emanating from the cellars,” and reported it to local authorities.

Bia allegedly explained that he was renting out the basement and was unaware of the grow, but the investigating magistrate didn’t go for that excuse and issued an arrest warrant. Bia is expected in court in Brussels next week.

Though technically illegal, cannabis is widely used in Belgium, with small amounts decriminalized since 2003. Individuals may also grow a single plant at home.

A 2015 research paper published in the International Journal of Drug Policy concluded that, given the spread of cannabis cultivation in Belgium, reducing the supply of the drug is not a realistic policy objective.

“Given the limited harms generated, there is scarce scientific justification to prioritize cannabis cultivation in Belgian law enforcement strategies,” the paper concluded.

Bia, 30, played a few seasons at the top level of football, including stints with the Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Watford Football Club, per Sports Joe.

Born in Zaire, Bia’s family moved to Belgium when he was a child. He has represented the country internationally on three occasions, making his first appearance in 2009 with Belgium’s Under-19 national club.

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