35-year-old Behar Dika, an Albanian national of Cheyne Walk, Hendon, NW4, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) and money laundering.
He will appear on Friday, 25 June, with eight others – Abu Tarab Raja, Jaspreet Singh Gill, Kanwaldeep Deol, Elton Dika, Xhovan Gripshi, Fabiol Beqiri, Besnik Alla and Emiljan Shega – who had previously pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs, namely cocaine, and money laundering offences.
The convictions follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) Central Task Force into the gang’s activities committed between January 2008 and October 2009.
DCI Peter Beyer, from the Met’s Central Task Force, said: "This group of men went to great lengths to disguise their criminal activity.
"They set up false businesses to enable them to push millions of pounds through legitimate bureau de changes to pay for the drugs they were dealing.
"It is only through the efforts of officers from the Central Task Force – both East and West – and the fact they worked so closely together that these men have been removed from dealing any more danger on the streets of London and the rest of the UK."
Detectives established that large quantities of cocaine were being supplied from three addresses in North West London and that the proceeds were being laundered through bureaux de change in west London.
Two of the men, Raja and Gill, established two false companies and registered them as bureaux de change. Following this registration and by providing false details to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) they were able to obtain a Certificate of Registration for Money Laundering Regulation.
This created the impression that the companies were regulated and that Raja and Gill were trading legitimately. This then allowed the pair, over a period of time, to take nearly £10million in cash to a legitimate bureau de change and trade the sterling for Euros in 500 denomination notes. The bulk of this laundered money has never been traced, despite extensive enquires.
The cash they laundered was given to them by Elton Dika amongst others and often came from one of the addresses being used in the supply of cocaine.
On 21 January 2009, Gill was arrested and found in the company of Deol. Both were in possession of a large amount of cocaine from one of the supply addresses. Searches of Gill’s home address uncovered more cash and paperwork relating to the laundering operation.
Raja was arrested on 30 March 2009 and searches uncovered more evidence of the laundering operation.
On 31 March 2009, a search was carried out at one of the identified supply addresses, PrioryGardens in Wembley. There, around eight kilos of cocaine as well as cutting agent and a large drugs press and approx. £100,000 in cash were found.
The drugs were hidden underneath floorboards, covered by two layers of carpet and with a sofa placed on top.
The four men present at the address – Gripshi, Beqiri, Alla and Shega – were all arrested.
Alla resided elsewhere and when his address was searched at Princess Parade in Golders Green Road, more cocaine and cash were recovered.
On 27 October 2009, Elton and Behar Dika were arrested at two different North London addresses. These two brothers are directly linked to the drugs factories controlled by the network and to the money laundering operation.
From the evidence recovered it became clear that Behar Dika was demonstrably one of the leaders of this network.
The jury at Kingston Crown Court returned a majority verdict on Dika of 11-1 for the conspiracy to supply cocaine charge and were unanimous on the money laundering charge.