Six men sentenced at St Albans Crown Court for drugs conspiracy
- Credit: Pic supplied
A Frogmore man was among six members of an Albanian gang sentenced to a total of over 30 years in prison for their role in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering offences.
Stephen Thomas, 44, of Centaurus Square, Curo Park in Frogmore, was sentenced in St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday (2) to 21 months in custody for conspiring to possess criminal property.
He was one of four men found guilty on Monday following a trial, after a police investigation across this county and Beds.
Two other men had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and also received custodial sentences.
The Herts Police specialist Serious and Organised Crime Group investigation, named ‘Operation Perilous’, ran from June until August last year and focused on the group’s involvement in the supply of Class A in St Albans, Luton and surrounding areas along with money laundering offences.
Among those sentenced on Tuesday was Eduart Plaku, 37, of Luton, who was sent to jail for six years for conspiring to possess criminal property.
His brother Antonio Plaku, 25, also of Luton, was sentenced to 11 years in custody for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between July 28 and August 2, 2014, and six years in custody, to run concurrently, for conspiracy to possess criminal property on June 4 and July 30 last year.
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He was also sentenced to six concurrent months in custody for possessing a false identification document.
Another Luton man, Albert Cena, 29, was sentenced to four years in jail for conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
The two men receiving custodial sentences after pleading guilty earlier were Fatjon Shehu, 29, of Ampthill, who admitted transferring criminal property. He was sentenced to 21 months in custody.
Another Luton man, Leonard Hasanaj, 33, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment.
The court heard how on June 4 last year, £124,000 was recovered from a sophisticated hiding place in the rear seat of a vehicle on the M1 - Thomas was driving the vehicle.
On July 30 2014, police seized £40,960 from a taxi on the M1. A man ran from the taxi and evaded capture.
Antonio Plaku handed the bag containing the cash to this man in Luton prior to the vehicle stopping.
On August 2 2014, police intercepted Hasanaj prior to entering Skyline Place in Luton with a rucksack containing two kilos of high grade Class A cocaine.
Antonio Plaku was identified as the intended recipient for the drugs.
Det Insp Ian Butler from the serious and organised crime group said: “Brothers Eduart and Antonio Plaku were the clear ringleaders in this organised crime group but all of the men who were involved in this had a clear role to play and are now paying for their crimes.
“Drug dealing of any kind is unacceptable on the streets of Herts.
“It brings misery to thousands of vulnerable people and their families whilst fuelling serious and organised crimes that operate miles from where these deals are being done and inflict unnecessary suffering within communities.
“The sentences passed on this group of criminals emphasises how seriously the courts view this type of activity. Our message is clear – if you are dealing drugs in Hertfordshire we will find you and bring you before the courts.”