North Walsham link to cocaine trafficking gang

Four members of an organised crime gang responsible for bringing cocaine worth �750,000 from London to Norwich have been jailed after the drugs ring was smashed by police.

Yesterday, Judge Stephen Holt blasted the gang members for bringing 'misery' to the streets as he jailed them for a total of more than 15 years.

Judge Holt said: 'This was a serious and well organised drugs ring which, had it not been stopped, would have continued to this day bringing misery.'

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said all four defendants were part of an 'Albanian organised crime gang' which sourced the cocaine in London and transferred it to Norfolk where it was 'diluted' using cutting agents.

The court heard that, following a police investigation, between October last year and May this year, a total amount of 2,888 grammes of cocaine was recovered together with cutting agents and three mechanical presses. Mr Ivory said the total individual street value of the cocaine recovered was somewhere in the region of �750,000. Roland Lami, 30, of Bateman Close, Bowthorpe, Norwich, and Indrit Korra, 26, of Mundesley Road, North Walsham, were both jailed for five years and four months at Norwich Crown Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Elis Xhaferi, 24, of The Towers, Carrow Hill, Norwich, was jailed for two years and six months after previously admitting possessing cocaine with intent to supply, while Preparim Hajdari, of St Williams Way, Thorpe St Andrew, who admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine, was also jailed for two years and six months.

Mr Ivory said the case involved three key premises: at Pennyroyal, off Fifers Lane, an address at Carrow Hill and a commercial premises at Arms Park Road, Norwich.

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Sentencing the four defendants yesterday Judge Holt said Lami and Korra played 'significant' roles while Xhaferi and Hajdari had lesser involvement in a case he described as involving 'serious organised crime'.

Ian James, mitigating for Lami, said he was 'one of the spokes of this particular wheel' but 'not the 'hub'. Michael Clare, for Korra, said his client pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and deserved full credit. Andrew Shaw, mitigating for Xhaferi, said his client should receive credit for plea, played a lesser role and that his involvement was down to pressure, intimidation or coercion. John Farmer, for Hajdari, said he was in the 'lowest possible category' in terms of the operation. All four men were legal residents in the UK and will not face deporation after completing their sentences.

A fifth defendant, Lucy Barnard, 20, of Bishy Barnebee Way, Bowthorpe, who admitted money laundering, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with the requirement she complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Farmer said she worked in the nursing profession, but had been 'drawn into something and has paid a very considerable price'.