End of road for drug traffickers

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An Albanian man who tried to evade capture in his Audi A8 when National Crime Agency officers foiled a drug deal which also involved a Slapton man, has been jailed for 13 years and six months.

Luiz Gjergji, 29, of Sydney Road, Enfield, was under surveillance at the White Lion Retail Park in Dunstable on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 24 when officers observed a parcel being handed over during a meeting with his younger brother Adriatik, 26, of Mount Road, Hendon, and Julian Perry, 40, of Church Road, Slapton.

When officers swooped, Gjergji sped off in his Audi A8, with an officer trying to hold on to the door handle. He crashed through a hedge and punctured his tyres by driving over a central reservation in the busy car park.

He abandoned the car outside Homebase in Luton Road, Dunstable and ran into a police motorcyclist. After a violent struggle he was caught and found to be in possession of a kilo of cocaine.

Gjergi’s Audi had a concealed compartment within the glove box, which was used to store drugs and cash.

The other two men were arrested in the car park. The parcel contained £42,200 and five kilos of benzocaine.

Component parts of a handgun and ammunition were found at Gjergji’s house, and a further kilo of cocaine and drug wrappings were found at Adriatik’s home.

All three men appeared at Luton Crown Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms offences. Gjergji’s brother Adriatik and Perry were also jailed, and received nine years four months and six years eight months respectively.

Neil Smith, from the NCA’s Specialist Operation Unit, said: “Gjergi and his criminal associates thought they could get away with doing their drug deal in broad daylight. Little did they know we were watching their every move.

“Gjergji’s desperation to save his own skin put the lives of shoppers and our officers at risk but thankfully no-one was injured.

“The NCA will continue to target those responsible for trafficking illegal drugs .”