Albanian drugs gang who idolised Al Pacino’s Scarface and pumped cocaine into Derbyshire communities jailed for 70 years
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The County Lines drug gang produced cocaine worth more than £1.1million which they pumped into towns across the Midlands. The ten-strong gang was led by Edmund Haziri, 36, and his younger brother Edward, 34, who ran the 'Eddie line' drugs operation. They moved kilos of the class A drug into South Derbyshire, North-West Leicestershire and East Staffordshire.
The gang, who sold drugs wrapped in lottery ticket stubs, were finally caught after a year-long police operation. A crucial iPhone which finally nailed them was accessed when cops found CCTV of one of the gang members using the passcode while shopping for groceries.
Officers copied the passcode to open the phone which revealed details of the gang’s drug dealing and money laundering operation. 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. Another member of the gang, Daniel Stavrat, 29, will be sentenced next month.
Dramatic police footage shows the gang being arrested in multiple raids across the Midlands and London at 7am on March 23 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. Cops began searching for the ‘Eddie line’ mobile phone which held the key to the gang’s extensive criminal network.
Officers expected it to be at the home of Alban Krasniqi, 34, in Blackheath Hill, London, but he flung it out the window during the raid. Bodycam footage shows police searching the flat which had a giant poster of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana character from Scarface, emblazed on the wall. Bundles of cash and multiple mobile phones were also seized but not the critical iPhone.
A police sniffer dog eventually found the iPhone in a bush in a neighbouring garden, but officers needed the six-digit passcode. Detectives finally cracked code after CCTV was found of Krasniqi making a contactless purchase in a convenience store.
Footage captured him entering the code into the handset and officers were able to use the information to access the ‘Eddie line’ phone. Thone revealed reams of evidence including drug orders, drop locations, dates, and contacts for other criminals.
A relative of the Haziri brothers, Gazmend Hoxha, travelled to London from his home in Leicester to pick up the drugs and drop off the proceeds of the sales.
He then headed back to the Midlands to resupply the gang’s numerous dealers who would supply as many as 145 users every day.
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 and Daniel Stavrat, 29, of no fixed address – due to be sentenced next month.