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Phone evidence snares money laundering and drugs gang

Three members of an organised crime network have been given prison sentences totalling more than 27 years after being found guilty of laundering over £2 million and conspiring to supply cocaine.

Enton Feta (35) and Kastriot Shemaj (42), both Albanian nationals living in Enfield, and Muhammad Asim (50) of Belvedere Road, London, were arrested by officers from the NCA and Metropolitan Police’s Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).

(Left to right) Enton Feta, Muhammad Asim, Kastriot Shemaj

Feta and Asim were under surveillance when they met Shemaj, who was carrying a black rucksack, on Cypress Road in South Norwood on 22 September 2015. They were stopped as they attempted to drive away in convoy and were arrested after the rucksack was found to contain £99,975 cash.

All three men were charged with money laundering, with Shemaj further charged for possessing a false ID card and driving license.

In a search of Feta’s home address, officers identified two notebooks with entries consistent with the supply and collection of payment for large quantities of cocaine to a number of different customers. Messages found on multiple phones seized from his home showed that Feta had been in regular contact with an unknown party, with whom he used code words to negotiate the sales of a unit of cocaine up to £31,000.

The text messages, along with the transactions detailed in the notebook, suggested that Feta had supplied over 18kg cocaine and he was additionally charged with conspiring to supply class A drugs.

Mobile phone records for Asim showed that he had received multiple text messages from numbers in Dubai detailing previous cash handovers, bank note serial numbers and individual’s names. The high number of handovers evidenced that Asim had potentially laundered over £2 million.

Officers also seized £900 cash and a money counting machine from Asim’s home address.

Feta, Asim and Shemaj denied the charges against them but were found guilty of all counts after a five week trial at Blackfriars Crown Court. They were sentenced on 25 April 2016 to 16, 8 and 3 and a half years respectively.

Spencer Barnett from the Organised Crime Partnership said:

“The sentences reflect the severity of these crimes.

“All three men are responsible for laundering millions of pounds worth of criminal money through the UK which is linked to the supply of drugs in London.

“Asim played a significant role as the main point of contact for money laundering controllers in Dubai and Pakistan.

“Through phone evidence and expert interpretation of the notebook entries the OCP was able to prove that Feta was involved in the supply of dangerous quantities of class A drugs.

“The Organised Crime Partnership will continue to protect Londoners by disrupting drug supply and preventing criminals from accessing the proceeds of their crimes.”

The OCP brings together officers from the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service to protect the communities of London from the harms inflicted by organised crime.

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