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‘Deliveroo’ drugs gang who raked in £4m taken away to prison

Cash haul: The gang made £4million a year acting as a portable drug delivery service

A GANG who made £4million a year acting as a portable narcotics delivery call centre — dubbed ‘Deliveroo for drugs’ — have been jailed.

The ten Albanian illegal immigrants ran the sophisticated round-the-clock drug call centre and delivery service in posh Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Dubbed the ’24/7 Conspiracy’, the group ran the Kent call centre between May and October last year which zapped orders out onto couriers’ burner phones.

Gang ringleader: Nelson Aliaj

Kent Police’s five-month investigation revealed a turnover of more than £1million but Judge Catherine Brown put the figure at about £4million per year.

Dealers were supplied with packs containing thirty half gram bags and sold for £40 a pop.

Couriers would then be ‘reloaded’ in exchange for £1,200 made off the previous package.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Simon Taylor likened the operation to a large scale takeaway service.

He said: ‘Organisers of the network were operating a Deliveroo or Just Eat for drugs and able to keep the key phone sterile by only using it for receiving and confirming orders.’

Clockwise from left: Izmir Basha, Arlind Palushi, Marius Kuci, Arsid Mataj, Alfred Gashi, Rigels Hadushaj, Ervis Dervishi and Fatos Metalia PICTURES: ESSEX POLICE

Judge Brown told ringleader Nelson Alliaj: ‘I am sure that, having been deported from the UK early in 2018, you came back to the UK unlawfully with the sole intention of operating this conspiracy.

‘Whether it was already up and running or whether it was initiated in the spring of 2018 when you returned is not clear.

‘This was a serious organised crime and you were at the heart of it.’

She added: ‘It is a serious aggravating feature that you re-entered the UK having been deported to carry out this criminal enterprise.

Affluent area: Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent

‘You had no regard to the casualties you would cause, both in terms of the drug users themselves, the knock on effects of drug crime or the wider communities.’

The judge branded Ervis Dervishi, 21, Alliaj’s ‘lieutenant and safe pair of hands’.

Dervishi organised houses, car insurance and other administrative detail to carry out the operation.

The judge said: ‘You were a safe pair of hands trusted to initiate the likes of Sadrijaq into the ways of the operation.’

Dervishi was banned from the UK for a similar offence but returned shortly after to take part in the conspiracy.

Judge Brown told Canterbury Crown Court how the scheme fell apart after a number of police stings.

One courier, Mataj Arsid, 24, supplied cocaine to an undercover police officer before his arrest.

Alliaj, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 15 years, which will run concurrently with a nine year sentence for production of Class B drugs.

Dervishi, 21, of Colchester, Essex, was sentenced to seven years, and the other eight gang members, all aged 19 to 26, were jailed for between three and seven years.

The only legal UK citizen, Xhensil Vucaj, 18, of Thornton Heath, was sentenced to two years suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.