Gang sold £4.2million of cocaine in the town in six month period
12th June 2019
AN ALBANIAN gang set up a sophisticated drug operation in Tunbridge Wells that sold more than £4million worth of cocaine in one six month period. Jailing nine of the men for a total of 60 years at Canterbury Crown Court, Judge Catherine Brown branded them ‘serious organised’ criminals.
The court had heard that the dealers worked a ‘24/7 call centre’ to supply the Class A substance to users.
Simon Taylor, prosecuting, explained that the gang used a ‘simple and consistent business model’ to allow people to place orders by using their phones.
He said: “The organisers of the network were operating a Deliveroo or Just Eat for drugs and able to keep the key phone sterile by only using it for receiving and confirming orders.
“Always half gram deals, always £40, always Albanian dealers and always Tunbridge Wells.”
The gang managed to deliver 1,500 orders in one week alone in July last year, which earned them at least £60,000.
And police estimate in just six months, the people of Tunbridge Wells ordered £4.2million of cocaine, which was more than 50 kilos of the drug.
Undercover officers had tracked the gang for several weeks before aresting the men.
The gang of ten, aged 19 to 24, were all based in Kent or London and either admitted or were found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Jailing ringleader Nelson Alliaj for 15 years, who it emerged had entered the UK illegally in 2018 after having been deported, Judge Catherine Brown said: “This was a serious organised crime and you were at the heart of it.”
She continued: “You had no regard to the casualties you would cause, both in terms of the drug users themselves, the knock-on effects of drug crime or the wider communities.”
Ervis Dervishi, 21, referred to by Judge Brown as Alliaj’s ‘lieutenant and safe pair of hands’ was sentenced to seven years.
The rest of the men received sentences of between three and seven years. One man was given a suspended sentence.
Detective Sergeant Mark Froome said the men were brought to justice through ‘meticulous investigation’.
He said after the hearing: “The sentences imposed should send a strong message to anyone seeing to supply Class A drugs in Kent that they will be identified, arrested and likely to spend significant time in jail.”