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The kingpin of an Albanian gang which smuggled £1.6m of cocaine into the UK hidden in lorries, was jailed after he was rumbled by his “dirty” pay-as-you-go phones.

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Tefik Hoda, a 33-year-old carwash owner of Catherine House, Whitmore Estate, Hoxton, will spend 12 years in prison after he was linked to three separate seizures of cocaine in April and May through mobile phone analysis.

Co-conspirators Daniel Hoda, 32, of St John Street, Bedford, and Alket Mehmeti, 31, and Mariglen Masdreku, 30, both of Hylands Road, Walthamstow, cut and distributed the drug sourced by Hoda.

The three men were arrested in Hylands Road on May 7 after officers watched the handover of six kilos of cocaine from drug courier Andrejus Gorbikas, 34, of Finch Close, Aylesford, Kent.

Inside the property were presses, rolls of packaging and drug distribution equipment.

Lithuanian lorry driver Arunas Budrys, 45, was arrested on May 31 as he handed a kilo of cocaine to gang courier Hamit Hoti, 39, of The Causeway, East Finchley, in a lay-by outside Bracknell.

Budrys’s fingerprints were found on the packaging from the earlier seizure.

Officers used phone analysis to show that gang boss Hoda was in regular contact with other members of the network before their arrests.

They compared the movement of his phones – pay-as-you-go mobiles used to co-ordinate drug deals and contact his gang – and linked them to the movement of a “clean” contract phone, which was registered to his girlfriend.

He was arrested in August as he used the “clean” phone.

National Crime Agency branch commander Dave Shorey said: “Tefik Hoda headed up a significant criminal operation with the ability to source and distribute large amounts of class A drugs. Our investigation into this gang was long and painstaking, but we worked our way up the chain to the top.”

Six of the group admitted conspiring to supply class A drugs and received reduced sentences for their pleas, while Budrys was found guilty on November 6 after a trial.

On December 23 at the Old Bailey Hoda was sentenced to 18 years in prison, reduced to 12 years for his guilty plea.

Daniel Hoda was sentenced to nine years, reduced to seven years two months.

Mehmeti and Masdreku were sentenced to nine years, reduced to six years nine months, and Gorbikas was sentenced to 10 years, reduced to eight years five months. Budrys was given nine years and Hoti nine years, reduced to six.

An eighth gang member Albanian national Barmir Trota, 21, from Walthamstow, was given a seven-year jail term for possessing cocaine with intent to supply and false ID offences in July.

He was arrested following the seizure of three kilos of cocaine in April, and was in regular contact with Hoda before his arrest.

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