Albanian gangsters have ruthlessly seized control of South America’s cocaine supply to flood Britain’s streets with record amounts of the drug, a Daily Mail investigation reveals today.
The global tentacles of the bloodthirsty Balkan mafia kingpins now stretch from the ‘narco state’ of Ecuador to cities and towns across the UK.
The details of the chilling development are revealed in our new two-part investigation into the trail of destruction left by Britain’s insatiable demand for cocaine, which is fueling bloodshed abroad.
Our investigation, and an accompanying documentary for The Mail+ and MailOnline, ‘ALBANIAN NARCOS: Bullets, Bloodshed & Britain’, exposes the true cost of the cocaine epidemic in the UK both here and in Ecuador, a small and impoverished country. 6,000 miles away.
The UK cocaine market is said to be worth a staggering £2 billion with an estimated 976,000 users, while the annual number of cocaine-related deaths has risen sevenfold in a decade, and is now at 840.
In Brighton, in the shade of the elegant Regency terraces that line the seafront, middle-class Britons can easily get their hands on the drug.
Stephen Wright traveled to Guayaquil in Ecuador to investigate drug gangs
Investigation by the National Crime Agency has shown that Albanian organized crime groups control the cocaine market in the UK’s main city and suburban areas (with the exception of Merseyside where local mobsters remain in charge ).
Now those same drug lords have a tight grip on the distribution of cocaine from Ecuador, where they have been engaged in a bloody battle with local cartels for supremacy in the lucrative international cocaine trade.
In the first part of our investigation today, we expose how Albanian drug lords now control the cocaine supply in the popular seaside resort of Brighton and Hove, on Britain’s south coast, where, according to a survey, it is said that one in five people have taken the drug. substance.
According to sources, a mysterious Albanian underworld figure known only by a single initial is said to be one of the criminal masterminds in charge of a network of drug dealers who supply cocaine to middle-class professionals, travelers and students.
Earlier this week, news broke that global cocaine production has hit record highs as demand picks up after Covid lockdowns.
A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said coca cultivation increased 35 percent between 2020 and 2021, with the biggest markets being in Europe and North America.
From top left to right: drug traffickers Ramazam Capa, Gjenti Capa, Ndricim Xhepa, Kadri Dema, Izmir Dema, Leonard Dema, Klinton Dani, Gledis Osmani and Mevlan Dema
The UK powder cocaine market is worth a staggering £2 billion
Last month, a prominent Ecuadorian congressman revealed how the threat of the Albanian mafia has infected his country ‘through violence, bribery and front companies, to build a million-dollar illegal business that consists of buying cocaine at a lower price in America. America and market it. in Europe’.
Fernando Villavicencio, president of the congressional oversight committee, said that around 4,000 Albanians live in Ecuador.
He added: ‘Drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime have contaminated a large part of the blood system of the Ecuadorian State, of the political class and its parties, of its institution of justice, of the financial system and have even penetrated the forces of the government itself. order in charge of combating organized crime.
‘The penetration, expansion and growth of organized crime could only occur thanks to the collusion and complicity of political power. Today, the fragile institutional framework and its contemptible democracy are at serious risk’.
Cocaine smuggled from Ecuador to the UK is typically concealed on container ships and enters through the ports of Rotterdam or Antwerp, which have also seen a huge increase in drug-related gang crime.
As revealed in our documentary on The Mail+ and MailOnline, parts of Ecuador have become the ‘Wild West’ as Albanian drug lords and South American cartels battle each other.
“Brighton is a party town,” says one resident. “People from all walks of life use cocaine.”
With exclusive and official briefings from police chiefs, Home Office officials, customs chiefs and senior military figures, as well as unprecedented access to confidential intelligence reports, our investigation provides the terrifying inside story about how cocaine it is smuggled into the UK from South America.
For nearly a month in Ecuador, Mail journalists were invited into anti-narcotics operations and witnessed the arrest of two fishermen trying to smuggle $20m (£16.4m) worth of cocaine off the coast of Ecuador.
In the second part of our investigation, an Ecuadorian mobster breaks the mob’s code of silence to reveal how his mob is working with Albanian drug traffickers to smuggle tons of cocaine into the UK and Europe. In an extraordinary encounter, he reveals how he carried out the first murderous attack on him at age 14.
We also reveal the untold story of one of Albania’s most notorious drug traffickers, who was controversially released early from a prison in Ecuador.
Dritan Rexhepi is nicknamed the ‘king of escapes’ for having escaped from prisons in Belgium and Albania; and the ‘king of cocaine’ for his ‘success’ in introducing cocaine into Europe.
Now he seems willing to exploit a legal loophole to avoid extradition to Europe, where he is wanted for a series of gang crimes, including murder.
Rexhepi, who has appeared on a Scotland Yard ‘most wanted’ list, is a typical example of many Ecuador-based Albanian narcos who, bypassing traditional middlemen, deal directly with cocaine producers in the Americas. del Sur and control the entire supply chain of the drug from South America to Europe, in particular to the United Kingdom.
High-ranking British police sources believe that people smugglers bringing Albanian migrants across the Channel are working with fellow British drug lords to provide foot soldiers to supply cocaine on UK streets.