Portsmouth cocaine ring ordered to pay back thousands of pounds

GANG members have been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds after a judge ruled their drug trafficking operation was worth £720,000.

Friday, 10th June 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Friday, 10th June 2016, 11:25 am
Clockwise from top left Samuel McNamee, Lorenc Ymeraj, Stacey Paul Smith, Matthew Hallett, Kevin Williams, Daniel Paterson, George Browning and Skender Ymeraj. Picture: Hampshire police PPP-161006-092157003

The cocaine ring, which brought the class A drug to Portsmouth, was jailed for a combined total of 100 years.

But a judge ordered individual members to pay back tens of thousands of pounds of ill-gotten gains.

Portsmouth Crown Court previously heard the gang made nine suspected trips bringing drugs to the city from London and Luton in an operation working on a ‘commercial scale’.

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Financial investigator Bernard Barber said: ‘This shows that Hampshire Constabulary is committed to taking the money away from people when it’s gained through crime.

‘Anyone who wants to traffick drugs in Hampshire will have the full force of the Proceeds of Crime Act used against them.’

Gang ‘operations manager’ Samuel McNamee had £9,610 confiscated while George Browning, who kept in touch with a prisoner who helped supply the drugs, must pay just £1 despite previously running what the judge said was one of the country’s most successful gas businesses.

Skender Ymeraj had £4,265 confiscated and must pay that back in three months or face another three months in jail. Just £600 is outstanding.

Lorenc Ymeraj had thousands of pounds worth of US dollars and euros seized by police and must pay back the value – £16,731.30.

Police have the cash already.

Stacey Smith had £5,800 confiscated, which must be paid back in three months or he faces spending another three months in prison.

Matthew Hallet was ordered to pay back £4,235 in three months or face three months in prison after police found he had a watch worth £2,000.

Daniel Paterson must pay £13,086 in three months or serve another seven months.

If any of them have assets in the future the police can seek to confiscate more cash.

The £720,000 figure is based on half a kilogram of cocaine at 90-per-cent purity cut twice making 2kg, the court heard.

Barnaby Shaw, prosecuting, said there were nine suspected trips.

The gang were:

n Paterson, 34, of Heritage Way, Gosport – 10 years.

n Williams, 46, of Willersley Close, Paulsgrove – nine years.

n Lorenc Ymeraj, 32, of Lords Street, Landport – 14 years.

n Skender Ymeraj, 26, of Wingfield Street, Buckland – 14 years.

n Stacey Smith, 38, of Oriel Road, North End – 12 years.

n Matthew Hallett, 34, of Anmore Road, Waterlooville – 12 years.

n Browning, 42, of Mill Road, Emsworth – 14 years.

n McNamee, 28, of Rockrose Way, Paulsgrove – 15 years.

McNamee pleaded guilty part-way through the trial and the rest were found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Luljeta Ymeraj, 30, of Lords Street, Landport, was found guilty of money laundering and given a suspended term.

Judge Sarah Munro QC adjourned hearings for Williams and Luljeta Ymeraj to August 5.