£178,000 taken from crime group

8 Sep 2017 12:48 PM

Three men have been sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs and conspiring to launder over £170,000.

Algert Lami (23), Roland Vasija (20) and Orjon Uku (22), all Albanian nationals living in the UK, were arrested in March 2017 by officers from the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service joint Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).

On the 24th March 2017, officers watched as Orjon Uke got out of a taxi in Hennicker Road, E15, and approached a parked BMW. He spent 20 minutes talking to the driver then left on foot. 

Five minutes later they watched Roland Vasija walk towards the same BMW, put a bag in the boot, and get into the passenger seat before the BMW drove away.

When OCP officers stopped the BMW and searched it they found £178,000 in a shopping bag. Roland Vasija and the driver, Algert Lami, were arrested.

Uku was arrested after returning to Hennicker Road and attempting to flee when officers followed him. 

Officers searched a property linked to Uku, thought to be a stash house for drugs and money, and recovered three blocks of white compressed powder wrapped in cling film, along with paraphernalia associated with the supply of drugs including scales and latex gloves. 

Approximately half a kilo of cocaine was found hidden in a concealment in the BMW glove box along with suspected false and fraudulently obtained ID documents which officers believe were being used by Lami. A number of mobile phones, drug paraphernalia and more false identity documents were recovered from Lami’s home address.

On the 17th May Lami pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession of false identity documents and fraud by deception. He and Vasija also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder £178,000.

Uku pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class A and class B drugs.

They have been sentenced to nine, two and six years in prison and respectively at Kingston Crown Court.

Steve Miles from the Organised Crime Partnership said:

“Every organised crime group which trafficks drugs is a business which relies on cash flow. If any business loses an expensive commodity in the middle of a transaction, that cash flow stalls on both sides.

“That means a loss of investment in other criminal activity, the inability to pay their own people, damage to trust and credibility between criminal groups and loss of face and status with their peers, making it harder for them to do business together in future.

“Taking a substantial amount of money out of the chain as we have done here makes life far more difficult for criminals to do business and I believe our actions have caused significant disruption to this group”.