Brighton and Hove organised crime group jailed
A group of men who were arrested in a series of police raids for conspiring to supply cocaine in Brighton and Hove have been jailed for a total of 45 years.
Twelve were arrested following the operation which was carried out on 7 June targeting individuals at addresses in Pool Valley, Preston Grange, Donald Hall Road, Regency Mews and London Road, Brighton, and Hove Park Villas in Hove, were involved in the supply of class A drugs in the city.
Quantities of cash, cocaine and vehicles were seized from the gang worth several hundred thousand pounds.
A hired transit van which was suspected to be carrying drugs was followed by the police helicopter along the A23 towards Brighton before being stopped by three police vehicles while other officers raided different properties and found drugs and cash.
Mevlan Dema, the leader of the group, was stopped in his BMW car in West Street, Brighton, and arrested. Cocaine was found in his vehicle.
Watch footage below showing officers making arrests during the raids.
Two days later police seized more than 100 bottles of illicit alcohol from a pub and café bars, associated with the group in Brighton city centre. Officers working with Immigration, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), council licensing teams, trading standards and environmental health went to seven premises including a pub, two kebab shops, three café bars and an off-licence.
They found illicit bottles of wine and spirits which were seized and several of the premises were investigated for breaching the conditions of their licences. The visits have also led to further inquiries being made by Immigration and HMRC.
Nine were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and appeared at Hove Crown Court on 12 July where seven of them pleaded guilty. These were Ramazam Capa, 21, unemployed, of no fixed address, Gjenti Capa, 27, unemployed, of no fixed address, Ndricim Xhepha, 28, unemployed, of London Road, Brighton, Gledis Osmani, 21, unemployed, of London Road, Brighton, Mevlan Dema, 32, a catering manager, of Hove Park Villas, Hove, Kadri Dema, 24, unemployed, of no fixed address and Izmir Dema, 25, unemployed, of no fixed address.
Mevlan Dema also pleaded guilty to two charges of money laundering.
On 29 July Leonard Dema, 35, unemployed, of Pennymead, Harlow, Essex and Klinton Dani, 23, a kitchen worker, of Pool Valley, Brighton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
They all appeared for sentencing on 22 March at Hove Crown Court apart from Leonard Dema. He was sentenced on Tuesday (28 March). Mevlan Dema was jailed for 13 years, Gledis Osmani was sentenced to eight years and Kadri Dema, Izmir Dema, Reo Capa, Gjenti Capa, Ndricim Xhepa and Klinton Dani were each jailed for three-and-a-half years. Leonard Dema was jailed for three years. After sentencing Judge David Rennie praised Sussex Police stating that the operation showed policing at its best and the investigation was to be commended.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Boniface said: "This was a long running operation to disrupt this Albanian organised crime group who were supplying significant quantities of cocaine within the city.
"We not only targeted them for the crimes they were committing, we also worked closely with our partners to look at their associates and businesses. We will now be applying to the court to seize their assets and any profits they have made from their criminality.
"We run operations like this continually because we are determined that Brighton and Hove remains an environment that is difficult for organised criminals to operate in.
"The sentences these men have received send out a clear message that dealing and supplying drugs on the streets of Brighton and Hove will carry a heavy penalty.
"We understand that the majority of Albanians working and living in the city are contributing to the community and economy in a positive way and do not want these groups to be selling drugs within our community."