Cocaine gang smashed in Welwyn Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 11:58 26 September 2013 | UPDATED: 11:58 26 September 2013
A COCAINE ring has been smashed in Welwyn Hatfield with the gang imprisoned for a total of 29 years and three months.
Officer in the case, Detective Constable Shelley Farmer
“We were really happy with the outcome of this case which took over two years to investigate and take through the courts as the chain of suppliers and dealers was so complex.
“Over the two years, we had a number of units and partner agencies assisting in bringing these criminals to justice. We would like to thank those partners for their help – but also say a big thank you to members of the public who gave us vital pieces of information which have enabled us to remove this significant gang of criminals from our streets.
“Drugs don’t just cause harm to those who take them – they also lead to other crimes such as theft, burglary, anti social behaviour and assaults so can cause significant harm to communities.
“Without intelligence from the public, our jobs would be very much harder. We would ask anyone who suspects any suspicious activity to get in touch – no matter how insignificant you might think the information is.
“You can report in confidence via our website www.herts.police.uk either on our drug crime reporting page or via Crimestoppers anonymously. You can also call our non-emergency number ‘101’ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Herts Police seized 30.39 kilos of the class a drug and cutting agent with a street value of around £118,000, a further £20,704 in cash and cars which were used to traffick the drug – worth around £11,000.
Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Group spent two years investigating the mainly Eastern European gang and taking them through the courts.
The investigation was triggered in 2011 when a number of thefts and assaults were linked to an increase in Welwyn Hatfield’s drug trade.
Intelligence suggested that large quantities of drugs were being smuggled into the UK, using sophisticated concealments within vehicles, and large scale supply was believed to be on-going in the borough.
Following the seizure, the cocaine was tested and was found to be on average 70-90 per cent cutting agent.
The cutting agent was Benzocaine – used by dentists for numbing gums but illegally imported from China because of the scale of the operation.
Last week, one of the linchpins of the operation was jailed at Harrow Crown Court for nearly six and a half years.
Albanian-born Beni Sade, 37, of Dellsome Lane, Welham Green, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a controlled drug, namely cocaine between January 1, 2012 and July 12, 2012 and was jailed for six years and six months.
He was further given confiscation orders for £12,200 in cash and two Seat Leons which were used to smuggle and deliver the drugs.
A husband and wife, Croatian Stevan Cica, 38, and 37-year-old Jelena Cica, both of Boulevard Drive, Hendon, were also convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine after police found they were using their North London flat and a lock-up garage to cut and prepare the Class A drug for sale.
They were each jailed for six years.
In their garage, police found a 24 ton hydraulic press, which was used to create the blocks of cocaine for selling on the street.
A total of 1.13kg of cocaine and 22 kg of cutting agent were seized from the two locations.
Stevan Cica admitted the charge but his wife denied it and was found guilty – the jury heard that officers even found cocaine in her underwear drawer.
A further five people had earlier been convicted.
Albanians Alfons Hila, 25, of Oak Tree Close, Hatfield, and Nazmi Kurti, 29, of Andrewsfield, Welwyn Garden City, were both sentenced in April 2012 to two years and nine months imprisonment respectively for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Both were working on Sade’s behalf.
In their case, 112 grams of cocaine and £3,724 in cash were seized.
Hila and Kurti were further linked to Tony Nunley, 37, of Kerr Close, Knebworth. Nunley received two years imprisonment and 151 grams of cocaine and £4,585 in cash was seized.
Ben Walker, 35, of Hardings, Welwyn Garden City, who received a 12 month conditional discharge and a driving ban.
In April 2014, Kosovo-born Mirgen Blloku, 32, Staplestone, Palmers Green, was also found to be a courier for the gang.
He was convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine and carrying a false document.
He received three years and three months imprisonment and 111 grams of cocaine and £195 cash was seized.
Blloku has since been deported from the UK.
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