Albanian drugs ring members jailed under Operation Sentinel

Northumbria Police have bust up an Albanian drugs ring, with five men sentenced in the breakup of the illegal enterprise

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Five members of an Albanian drugs ring have been jailed after police officers uncovered their illegal enterprise.

The group, led by brothers Elegantin and Klerdi Alcani, were responsible for producing and selling large quantities of cannabis across the North East.

Officers seized a haul of cannabis valued in excess of £60,000.

In February of last year, an investigation into the group was launched after keen-eyed officers spotted a suspicious-looking car on Axebridge Gardens in Newcastle’s West End.

When officers approached the vehicle, they found Erdi Haldeda in the driver’s seat alongside associate Olti Gjoni and a bag containing £47,574 cash.

Routine checks revealed Haldeda had no licence or insurance and the car was actually registered to an address in Glasgow under another associate, Kayana Dodgson.

Haldeda and Gjoni were arrested and taken into custody, where detectives quizzed them and subsequently launched an investigation.

A search of Haldeda’s address on Faraday Grove in Gateshead recovered a number of cannabis bushes and a search of a property in Newburn found 12.5 kilos of cannabis and another £15,000 in cash.

Five members of an Albanian drug gang have been arrested and sentenced after a Northumbria Police operationFive members of an Albanian drug gang have been arrested and sentenced after a Northumbria Police operation
Five members of an Albanian drug gang have been arrested and sentenced after a Northumbria Police operation

The Alcani brothers were quickly identified as key players in the production chain of the Class B drug, with arrests for the pair following several weeks after the raid.

Dodgson was later arrested and the group later appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where all except Haldeda pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug ring.

Erdi Haldeda, 33, was found guilty of possession of criminal property and had previously admitted possession of cannabis as well as driving without insurance or a license.

Haldeda was jailed for two years and six months, while Gjoni was imprisoned for 12 months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £156 for possessing criminal property.

Elegantin Alcani, 24, was jailed for two years for being concerned in the production of cannabis, while brother Klerdi, 25, was jailed for six-and-a-half years for being concerned in the production of cannabis and possession of criminal property.

Dodgson was jailed for a total of nine-and-a-half years for possession with intent to supply and being concerned in the production of cannabis as well as possession of criminal property.

After sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Anegla Hudson said: “As a force, we have made it clear that we will absolutely not tolerate the production, supply and sale of illegal and illicit drugs that cause our communities harm and we will do everything in our power as part of Operation Sentinel to dismantle the groups who are involved in this.

“Thanks to a complex police investigation, an organised criminal group has been jailed and a significant amount of illegal drugs and suspected criminal cash seized and prevented from being used to further fund criminal activity.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every officer, staff member and partners in the criminal justice system, whose hard work has helped secure such a positive result.

“We understand people have differing views on cannabis, but the reality is these criminal groups will use their ill-gotten gains to commit further, more serious offences which have a profound impact on our communities, as well as the vulnerable drug users who get caught up in this.

“We will continue to play our part in tackling serious and organised crime and would urge residents to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity to us.”