Albanian drug gangs bringing cocaine misery from Ecuador to the streets of Britain

Albanian gangsters have ruthlessly taken control of South America’s supply of cocaine to flood Britain’s streets with record amounts of the drug, a Daily Mail investigation has found.

The global tentacles of bloodthirsty mafia queens from the Balkans now stretch from ‘narco-state’ Ecuador to cities and towns across the UK.

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 – fueling bloodshed abroad.

Our research and a companion documentary for The Mail+ and MailOnline, ‘ALBANIAN NARCOS: Bullets, Bloodshed & Britain’ exposes the true cost of the UK’s cocaine epidemic, both here and in Ecuador – a small, impoverished country 6,000 miles beyond.

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 increased sevenfold in a decade and now stands at 840.

In Brighton, in the shadow of the elegant Regency terraces along the coast, middle-class Britons can easily get their hands on the drug

Stephen Wright traveled to Guayaquil in Ecuador to investigate the drug gangs

Stephen Wright traveled to Guayaquil in Ecuador to investigate the drug gangs

Research by the National Crime Agency has found that crime groups organized by Albanian control the cocaine market in major cities and suburban areas of the UK (with the exception of Merseyside, where local gangsters are in charge).

Now those same drug lords have an iron grip on the distribution of cocaine from Ecuador, where they have been engaged in a bloody battle with local cartels for control of the lucrative international cocaine trade.

In the first part of our investigation today, we expose how Albanian drug lords now control the supply of cocaine in the popular seaside town of Brighton and Hove on Britain’s south coast, where one in five people, according to a survey, consume the substance.

According to sources, a mysterious underworld figure from Albania, 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, commuters and students.

Earlier this week, it emerged that global cocaine production has hit record levels as demand recovers from Covid lockdowns.

According to a new report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, coca cultivation is up 35 percent between 2020 and 2021, and the largest markets have been in Europe and North America.

From top, left to right: Drug dealers Ramazam Capa, Gjenti Capa, Ndricim Xhepa, Kadri Dema, Izmir Dema, Leonard Dema, Klinton Dani, Gledis Osmani, and Mevlan Dema

From top, left to right: Drug dealers Ramazam Capa, Gjenti Capa, Ndricim Xhepa, Kadri Dema, Izmir Dema, Leonard Dema, Klinton Dani, Gledis Osmani, and Mevlan Dema

The UK powder cocaine market here is worth a whopping £2 billion

The UK powder cocaine market here is worth a whopping £2 billion

Last month, a leading 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 illicit trade consisting of buying cocaine at a lower price in Latin America and marketing. in Europe’.

Fernando Villavicencio, president of the congressional oversight committee, said there are about 4,000 Albanians living in Ecuador.

He added: “Drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime have contaminated much of the blood system of the Ecuadorian state, of the political class and its parties, of its legal institution, of the financial system and have even penetrated the law enforcement who are themselves responsible for the fight against organized crime.

The penetration, expansion and growth of organized crime could only take place thanks to the conspiracy and complicity of political power. Today, the fragile institutional framework and its despicable democracy are in grave danger.”

Cocaine smuggled from Ecuador to the UK is usually hidden on container ships and enters through the ports of Rotterdam or Antwerp, where a huge increase in drug-related gang crime has also been observed.

As revealed in our documentary on The Mail+ and MailOnline, parts of Ecuador have turned into 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 on-the-record briefings from police chiefs, Home Office officials, customs bosses and senior military figures, as well as unprecedented access to confidential intelligence reports, our investigation provides the terrifying insider story of how cocaine is being smuggled into the UK from South Africa. America.

In Ecuador for nearly a month, Mail journalists were invited to anti-narcotics operations and witnessed the arrest of two fishermen trying to smuggle $20 million (£16.4 million) worth of cocaine off the coast of Ecuador.

In part two of our investigation, an Ecuadorian mobster breaks the mafia code of silence to reveal how his mafia has teamed up with Albanian narcos to smuggle tons of cocaine into the UK and Europe. In an extraordinary encounter, he reveals how he carried out his first assassination attempt at the age of 14.

We also reveal the untold story of one of Albania’s most notorious narcos, who was controversially released early from a prison in Ecuador.

Dritan Rexhepi is nicknamed the ‘king of escapes’ for escaping prisons in Belgium and Albania; and the ‘king of cocaine’ for his ‘success’ in getting cocaine into Europe.

He now appears poised to exploit a legal loophole to avoid extradition to Europe, where he is wanted for a range of gang crimes, including murder.

Rexhepi, on a Scotland Yard ‘Most Wanted’ list, is typical of many Albanian narcos based in Ecuador who, by sidelining traditional middlemen, deal directly with cocaine producers in South America and the control the entire cocaine supply chain. the drug from South America to Europe – particularly the UK.

Senior UK law enforcement sources believe traffickers bringing Albanian migrants across the Channel are collaborating with compatriot drug lords to provide foot soldiers to deliver cocaine onto British streets.