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UPDATED WITH SENTENCE: Ringleader of multi-million pound cocaine importing gang is convicted

|News, Drug offences

The ringleader of a gang who conspired to import millions of pounds worth of cocaine has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Helios Nanaj, 37, was earlier found guilty of conspiring to supply controlled Class A drugs and conspiring to import drugs following a trial at Gloucester Crown Court.

On December 14, Nanaj was jailed for 24 years, of which he must serve at least 12 years before being released on licence.

Nanaj was successfully prosecuted following a rigorous investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, following the sharing of information about users of hacked Encrochat devices and their offending.

One crucial piece of evidence the prosecution used to crack the case against Nanaj was the personalised username that he used on his encrypted device.

Adopting the moniker ‘Boboku’, Nanaj advertised his services as a regional wholesale supplier and importer of cocaine. The name ‘Boboku’, as police were able to prove, was also a nickname Nanaj used to affectionately describe his five-year-old son.

Images of his son were also found on his Encrochat device, as well as messages wishing a happy birthday from ‘the Nanaj family’.

After arrest, Nanaj’s Encrochat device, as well as one of his personal phones, were seized and forensically analysed.

Using cell-site analysis, evidence was obtained that was able to prove that both mobile phones would connect to the same cell site closest to his home address in Wandsworth, London.

After further examination of ANPR cameras, it was proven beyond doubt that the two mobile phones were also connecting to the same cell sites when Nanaj was travelling by car. 

Ann Hampshire, Specialist Prosecutor for CPS Southwest, said: “Nanaj was the head of an extensive organised crime group which used a highly sophisticated network to import and distribute in the UK hundreds of kilograms of highly dangerous drugs.

“Through his illegal endeavours he was able to lead a highly lucrative lifestyle that has now come crashing down, thanks in no small part to rigorous investigative work and co-operation between police partners and the CPS. Now he has been convicted, the police will endeavour to find and recover the money that he has made from his crimes.

“Drug-related crime is corrosive – it damages not only those involved in buying and selling and their families, but the communities in which they live. 

“The CPS is committed to working with the police to disrupt the supply of drugs by bringing those involved to justice and ensuring they do not profit from their criminality.”

Detective Inspector Matt Phillips, from Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “This investigation demonstrates Gloucestershire Constabulary’s commitment to protecting our communities and tackling the risks posed by organised crime groups anywhere in the UK. 

“A proactive operation in Gloucestershire led to the local arrest of one of Nanaj’s subordinates and detectives diligently followed the trail of evidence to identify all of those who had benefitted from supplying drugs in the county.

“Anyone who supplies drugs into Gloucestershire runs the risk of being caught, prosecuted and spending a long time in prison as a result. One of the recovered messages from a phone belonging to Nanaj alluded to the fact he wasn’t sending more drugs from London to Gloucester for a while as it was 'too hot' with police activity currently - little did he realise how right he was.”

Notes to editors

  • Ann Hampshire is Specialist Prosecutor for CPS South West.
  • Helios Nanaj (30/08/1986) was found guilty of:
    • Four counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class A
    • Conspiracy to contravene S170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979

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