29 June 2017
A drug smuggler has been jailed for ten years after trafficking cocaine to criminal groups around the country.
The sentence, delivered at Birmingham Crown Court today (29 June 2017), follows an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Adrini Kuqi, 31, supplied criminal groups with more than 50 kg of the class A drug. He was also given a concurrent sentence of a year for money laundering and will serve a minimum of five years of the ten-year tarrif.
In November 2016 NCA officers followed Kuqi’s BMW to a car park near the Hams Hal industrial estate in Coleshill, Birmingham.
Stopped on the M42
They saw him leave his car before returning with plastic bags which he put on the back seat before driving away.
Warwickshire Police officers, working with the NCA, stopped Kuqi’s car on the M42 south of Birmingham and found the bags to contain nine individually wrapped one kg blocks of high-purity cocaine.
NCA officers who searched Kuqi’s home address found a replica automatic handgun, three further one kg packages of cocaine in a laptop case and a quarter of a kg of cocaine in his fuse box cupboard, as well as cash worth £16,100.
Empty packaging in the bin was also found to have traces of cocaine on it.
The drugs in the car and the house, which were similarly packaged, had a street value of about £1.2million.
A ledger in the house held the details of movements for cash and more than 42kg of cocaine around the UK in the two weeks before his arrest by the NCA.
The NCA investigation found Kuqi’s BMW had been in each of the locations listed on the dates identified in the ledger.
In interview Kuqi said he had put the plastic bag of cocaine into his car without looking inside it and that he had never known what was in it.
But Kuqi pleaded guilty before trial to conspiracy to supply cocaine, accepting his role as a significant courier, and to money laundering.
Complex network disrupted
Paul Risby, Midlands branch commander for the NCA, said: “Adrini Kuqi moved drugs around the country to make money.
“Like most organised criminals, he wasn’t bothered about the consequences unless it affected his bank balance.
“In seizing the drugs we’ve removed a significant revenue stream from the criminal economy and disrupted a complex network of criminality.”