Holloway man jailed for his part in £40million heroin ring

Jgerji Lleshi

Jgerji Lleshi - Credit: Archant

A man from Holloway has been jailed for his part in a drug smuggling ring that imported more than £40million of cocaine and heroin into the UK.

Police found �40,000 in Lleshi's flat.

Police found �40,000 in Lleshi's flat. - Credit: Archant

Jgergji Lleshi, 27, of Bride Street, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison at Kingston Crown Court on November 19 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin.

He was one of seven members of the gang who were jailed for a total of 77 years for the plot, which saw tens of millions of pounds of the class A drugs brought in from mainland Europe and sold in London and the south of England.

Eight men had previously been jailed for total of 80 years.

Lleshi’s prosecution was the result of a long, complex investigation, code named Ninjask.

The group smuggled cocaine and heroin worth more than �40m

The group smuggled cocaine and heroin worth more than �40m - Credit: Archant

Detectives from the Met’s Central Task Force focussed on an Albanian gang that had developed an extensive drug supply network during a 20 year period.

The gangsters attempted to remain beneath police radar by leading apparently normal lives running cafes.

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But the group were in fact using safe houses and fleets of vehicles to prepare and mix drugs.

Lleshi, a drug courier and mixer for the gang, was arrested in September 2013 after a raid at a safe house in Bride Street turned up £40,000 hidden in the flat.

Another warrant was executed in Mildmay Grove South, Newington Green, where two kilos of heroin were recovered at a safe house.

Searches at addresses in Crystal Palace and Walthamstow turned up more than 10 kilos of heroin and about £200,000 in sterling and Euros.

The gang’s ringleader, Sami Qerkini, 49, of Brook Avenue, Edgware, was given 22 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin.

Qerkini, who had previously fled the UK, admitted two separate conspiracies involving between 400 and 500 kilos of Class A drugs.

Some of those involved are foreign offenders and police are working with UK Border Force to make sure they are deported after serving their prison terms.

Det Insp Nick Blackburn of the Met’s Central Task Force, said: “This outstanding result reflects the professionalism and dedication of a specialist team of detectives who have achieved significant sentences for those concerned.

“The Organised Crime Group has been fully dismantled from importation level to street-level distributors.

“This is indicative of the Met’s Total War on Organised Crime and should send out a strong message to those currently engaged in such activity.”