Leader of major drugs gang has sentence increased

29 Apr 2024 12:13 PM

Leader of a criminal gang that distributed large quantities of cocaine and cannabis across Sussex has his sentence increased after referral to Court of Appeal.

Ergest Tarja, 31, has had his six years and six months’ sentence quashed and a nine year prison sentence imposed after it was referred under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

The gang, led by Tarja, formed part of a complex network of organised crime groups that were involved in a sophisticated conspiracy to supply around 20kg of cocaine between London and Sussex over a period of between two and three years.

Tarja used a special phone to send and receive encrypted calls and messages in a bid to cover his tracks.

But experts at the French Police were able to uncover the messages which showed his involvement in the distribution of multiple kilograms of cocaine.

The Solicitor General, Robert Courts KC MP, recently said: 

Drugs are a scourge on our local communities, and I was shocked by the sophistication of Ergest Tarja’s operation to distribute judge quantities of drugs.

Thankfully the court agreed that his sentence was unduly lenient, and his increased prison term shows that drug dealers will face the full force of the law.

Tarja was sentenced for a total six years and six months’ imprisonment for being concerned in the supply of cocaine and conspiracy to supply cocaine on 11 January 2024 at Lewes Crown Court. 

On 25 April 2024, the Court of Appeal increased Tarja’s sentence to nine years after it was referred under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.