Moment Albanian county lines dealer who had a poster of Scarface on his wall is arrested – as drugs gang who pumped £1.1m of cocaine into small towns by hiding wraps in lottery tickets are jailed
This is the moment an Albanian County Lines drugs gang who idolised Al Pacino’s Scarface is taken down in a series of coordinated raids across the capital.
Police began investigating the organised crime group (OCG) after an alert police community support officer noticed suspicious activity in a quiet market town 120 miles north.
The gang led by brothers Edmund and Edward Haziri ran an ‘Eddie line’ which pumped £1.1m of cocaine into towns across Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, selling the Class A drug wrapped in lottery tickets.
They were caught after a year-long police operation sparked by a PCSO in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, who had spotted the driver of a vehicle acting suspiciously.
The car was suspected to be linked to drug dealing in the area and was then linked to other vehicles, too, which led officers to a middle-man in Leicester, Gazmend Hoxha, and the rest of the gang, including the Haziri brothers Edmund, 36, and Edward, 34, in London.
The ten members of the gang who were snared in a series of simultaneous raids across London and Leicester
Derbyshire Police has released footage of the raids it carried out as it closed in on the county lines gang responsible for pumping £1.1million of cocaine into towns
A gang member is cuffed and led away by an officer wearing a balaclava following one of the police operations
Stacks of bank notes – often in £50 denominations – were seized by police and dropped into transparent evidence bags
One gang member had a poster of Al Pacino in his role as Tony Montana in 1980s drug gang film Scarface on his wall
Members of the gang were led out of their homes following the early morning raids
Derbyshire Police said Hoxha would drive from his home in Leicester down to London, to drop off the cash earned through the dealing and bring back the next batch of cocaine.
The extent of the network’s activities only became evident after a sniffer dog found found an iPhone which had been tossed out of a window into a neighbouring garden during a raid on gang member Alban Krasniqi’s property in Blackheath Hill, south London.
Bodycam footage shows police searching the flat which had a giant poster of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana character from Scarface, emblazoned on the wall.
Bundles of cash and multiple mobile phones were also seized.
Officers were confident the discarded handset would prove to be the ‘Eddie line’, but had only a finite number of attempts to enter the correct passcode. Detectives trawled through their hundreds of hours of surveillance footage of the gang until they found film of him making a contactless purchase in a convenience store.
They believed that the iPhone he was holding in the footage was the same phone they now had in their possession, and so they watched him enter the code on the CCTV and tapped in what they saw.
The phone lit up and revealed reams of evidence: drug orders, drop locations, dates, contacts, and much more.
The contents of the phone – along with other evidence gathered during the course of the investigation – helped secure charges of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The gang were convicted of conspiring to supply cocaine and were jailed for a combined total of 71 years and seven months at Derby Crown Court.
A final member of the gang, Daniel Stavrat, 29, will be sentenced next month.
Derbyshire Police staged simultaneous raids at a number of locations, with assistance from Leicestershire Police and the Metropolitan Police, in March 2022
A gang member in handcuffs points at something as he speaks to officers during one of the simultaneous raids carried out by police to collar the organised crime group
Police found what they called the ‘Eddie Line’ mobile phone in a neighbour’s garden after it had been launched out of a window of a home in south London as the raid began
Police capture evidence of the gang’s activities following the raids
The dramatic police footage shows the gang being arrested after 7am raids at addresses across London and Leicester in March last year.
One team targeted a business premises linked to the gang and discovered a huge DIY casino complete with poker and blackjack tables in the basement.
Derby Crown Court heard the gang’s numerous dealers who would supply as many as 145 users every day.
In total, the OCG is thought to have processed 9kg of cocaine, with an estimated street value of up to £1.1m.
Detective Inspector Kane Martin, who led the investigation, said: ‘The Eddie line was responsible for poisoning our streets with harmful drugs but the gang simply didn’t care about the damage they left behind.
‘They reaped the rewards of their crimes, living lavish lifestyles in London and elsewhere, while the cocaine they pumped into the Midlands destroyed families and relationships.
‘The Haziri brothers and their gang are now spending many years behind bars and I hope this sends a very clear message to anyone else involved in drug dealing: we will catch you, put your before the courts, and stop you from spreading misery and addiction in our communities.’
The ‘Scarface’ gang
- Edmund Haziri, 36, of no fixed address – jailed for 15 years
- Edward Haziri, 34, of Lewisham, London – jailed for 15-and-a-half years
- Gazmend Hoxha, 47, of Leicester – jailed for 11 years
- Alban Krasniqi, 34, of Blackheath Hill, London – jailed for nine years
- Samuel Stoica, 25, of Wolverhampton – jailed for eight years and three months
- Simion Stoica, 22, of Wolverhampton – jailed for three-and-a-half years
- Kristi Prifti, 23, of no fixed address – jailed for four years
- Joshua Garrigan, 32, of Coalville – jailed for two years and eight months
- Razvan Manoliu, 27, of Burton-upon-Trent – jailed for two years and eight months
- Daniel Stavrat, 29, of no fixed address – due to be sentenced next month
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