Jailed: Drug smuggler who stored cocaine equipment and cannabis in Poplar flat
PUBLISHED: 09:15 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 17 August 2018
A drug-smuggling gun runner who stored cannabis and equipment used to prep cocaine in a house in Poplar has been jailed for 17-and-a-half years.
Officers found £6,000 in cash, a hydraulic press used to make blocks of cocaine, and a kilo of herbal cannabis at Ergys Osmanja’s flat in Proton House, Blackwall Way in a raid last July.
Dardan Sadikaj, of Farm Road, Rainham, was sentenced on Monday at Blackfriars Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and a firearm.
Matt McMillan from the Met’s organised crime partnership (OCP) said: “Criminals like Sadikaj perpetuate gang culture and serious violence putting innocent members of the public at risk.”
Sadikaj was arrested in France on January 9 following a 16-month surveillance operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and OCP.
During a stake-out in September 2016, officers watched as Sadikaj met with his cousin Besard Mustafaj at the Sunrise Carwash in Barking Road, East Ham.
Mustafaj left and was later seen picking up a white plastic bag from a woman. He was arrested and a converted Baikal pistol along with magazine containing two live rounds was found in the bag.
In secret recordings of Sadikaj, he explained that Mustafaj had been picking up the gun so he could sell it to a customer.
In May 2017, calling the gun a “strap”, he said: “Caught him in a strap right here. They knew it was for me, the other boys. I knew them. They wanted to get straps off me so I was giving ‘em the strap.”
In further recordings, Sadikaj repeatedly talked about importing, cutting and selling hundreds of kilos of class A drugs including cocaine and heroin.
Discussing his plans, he said: “If we sell two units we make 14. We keep one guy here to do the food. One of our guys will be in Belgium. We’ll distribute it at a garage. I’ve got full trust in it. My vision is that in six months, all of us will walk away with one mil each.”
“Units” means kilo blocks and “food” is code for cocaine.
In the same month, Osmanja, an associate of Sadikaj, was arrested following the handover of 5kgs of cocaine in north London.
They found the drugs and gear during a search of his flat.
Sadikaj had previously identified the flat as a location for someone to pick up drugs and was seen driving past the building twice on the day it was raided.
Sadikaj pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and a firearm and was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court to 17-and-a-half years in prison.
Osmanja was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court last July to seven years four months for possession with intent to supply cocaine. He got six months for possession with intent to supply cannabis, to run consecutively.