CRIME CITY: Albanian gangsters jailed over gun, cash and £300K cocaine stash found in London flat


TWO men have been sentenced to a combined 18 years in prison for drugs and firearms offences after a firearm, ammunition, cash and cocaine worth £300,000 on the streets was found in their shared house.

Albanian nationals Arben Kola, 30, (above right) and Elton Osmenaj, 32, (left) were arrested on May 7 2020 when organised crime investigators raided their shared flat on Hornsey High Street, in north London.

During the search officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) found around £30,000 in cash, three kilos of cocaine, a 32 calibre pistol and 24 rounds of ammunition.

An OCP spokesman said: "Investigators also found a notebook used as a ledger for drug dealing.

"Once cut, the cocaine would carry an estimated street value of £300,000."

The cash, two kilos of cocaine and ammunition were found stashed in various kitchen cupboards within the property, while another kilo of cocaine was hidden behind the toilet panel in the en-suite bathroom.

Officers discovered the firearm and additional ammunition hidden in the wardrobe of one of the bedrooms.

DANGEROUS: The handgun found in a wardrobe (NCA)

At Wood Green Crown Court yesterday (November 23), Kola was sentenced to five years and six months for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, and Osmenaj received a sentence of 13 years for drugs and firearms offences.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony O’Sullivan, from the OCP, said: “These men were found in possession of a lethal firearm and enough rounds of ammunition to do appalling damage, so it is important that they are no longer operating on the streets of London.

“Although gun crime is relatively low in the UK compared to mainland Europe, we know handguns are the most commonly used firearms by criminals here, and this investigation shows clearly the link between these weapons and class A drugs supply.

“The OCP strives to halt the movement of guns and drugs to criminals who profit from their trade and in doing so, put the public in serious danger.”

The OCP is a joint team between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Met Police to target mid-tier organised criminals involved in drug and firearm supply.

Albanian nationals are increasingly being arrested on suspicion of involvement in cocaine supply and cannabis production across the UK.

With direct links to cocaine producers in Columbia, some have been able to undercut other criminal networks and get higher-purity supplies.

They have also worked with Italian mafia to move cocaine across Europe and into the UK.

The Barking-based Hellbanianz gang, many of who are British born men of Albanian heritage, have often declared that they "run London" in term of the cocaine trade.

Essex News & Investigations

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