Six men have been jailed following an extensive operation to tackle an organised crime group dealing class A drugs in Dorset.
The defendants appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court to be sentenced on Friday 11 February 2022 for conspiring to supply class A drugs.
Ardit Zani, aged 29 and of Bournemouth, Andrew Doyle, aged 31 and of Christchurch, Lawan Najim, aged 26 and of Bournemouth, and Marjus Nona, aged 23 and of Birmingham, had all previously entered guilty pleas to the charge at earlier hearings.
Agron Bendaj, aged 54 and of Luton in Bedfordshire, was found guilty following a trial in June 2021, and Endri Kostreni, aged 29 and of Bournemouth, was convicted following a further trial in November 2021. Kostreni was also found guilty of being concerned in the supply of a class B drug.
Zani was sentenced to eight years in prison, Bendaj received a seven-year jail term and Najim was jailed for six years. Kostreni received a sentence of ten years, Doyle was jailed for five years and five months and Nona was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
In June 2020 detectives from Dorset Police’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation Team launched an investigation into the activities of an organised crime group, mainly made up of Albanian nationals, who were reported to be involved in the large scale supply of class A drugs in the area.
Evidence obtained during the operation indicated the defendants were part of a network involved in facilitating the collection of cocaine in large quantities, usually kilogram blocks, from London and then taking them down to the Bournemouth area to deal in smaller quantities.
The operation culminated in a day of action on Thursday 29 October 2020, with officers stopping a vehicle in which a large block of cocaine, weighing just under a kilogram, was found and arresting a number of the defendants. Najim was arrested as he attempted to make off from the vehicle and Doyle was also arrested nearby.
Following searches of the area, Zani and Bendaj were also located and detained.
A series of warrants were subsequently executed at a number of addresses in Bournemouth and officers found several thousand pounds in cash, as well as various quantities of cocaine, with the total value of the drugs seized estimated between £58,360 and £127,710.
Kostreni was arrested after being found at one of the addresses that was searched. He was also found to be involved in the cultivation of cannabis.
Nona was arrested in Birmingham on Tuesday 6 April 2021.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Jamie Halford, of Dorset Police, said: “This was an extensive operation by the Serious Organised Crime Investigation Team to obtain detailed evidence into this organised crime group operating in our county and then take decisive action to disrupt its activities.
“We are committed to tackling the operations of drug supply networks and doing all we can to stem the flow of class A illegal substances that are brought into Dorset from elsewhere in the country.
“Through this investigation we have identified a group involved in a major operation to bring cocaine into the county and onto our streets and have ensured they have been brought before the court to face the consequences of their actions.
“We would always urge anyone with information relating to the supply of illegal drugs or other drug-related activity in their area to report it to us. Contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.pnn.police.uk, email email@example.com or call us via 101.”
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Local Police Area (LPA) Commander Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan said: “We recognise the impact that the supply of class A drugs has on our communities and we will take robust action that sends a message to those involved in serious criminality of this nature that it will not be tolerated in Dorset.
“This investigation was led by our Serious Organised Crime Team, which is committed to disrupting the activities of organised crime networks, and I want to praise them for the hard work and commitment they have shown during this detailed investigation. I would also like to thank all those from across the Force who have supported the operation.”
David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “First of all I want to thank all the officers and staff involved in bringing this complex case to court. Breaking organised crime groups is vital if we are to deal with the scourge of illegal drug use.
“I have made no secret that I want tough enforcement action taken when it comes to dealing with county lines and drug trafficking and I will be relentless in my efforts to help the criminal justice system to secure more and more charges, prosecutions and convictions for those who supply and deal drugs on our streets, so we can build a safer Dorset.
“I hope that the outcome of this case serves as a warning to other criminals who think they can peddle their disgusting trade in our county – put simply – you will get caught and you will go to prison.”
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