Sergjo Rica was part of an organised criminal gang which arranged delivery of drugs into the town through dedicated ‘customer’ phone lines.
Rica played a key role in the operation and between May 2019 and June 2020 was responsible for directing multiple drug runners to users’ homes. He was initially arrested on 22 May 2019 while driving a VW Passat which was stopped by officers in Mountfield Gardens, Tunbridge Wells. The car contained cocaine, as well as other suspects and Rica was later bailed as detectives sought to pin down the gang’s movements and uncover more details of their supply chain.
The investigation led to the seizure of two mobile phones which were used to send post code messages to a number of local runners working for the gang. The phones contained evidence of hundreds of completed deals. They were conclusively linked to Rica after enquires showed he had used them to call insurance, gas and electricity companies and during conversations had confirmed his name and address.
On 3 June 2020 he was arrested again, this time at a location in Leicestershire, where police seized 12 bags of cocaine from a car as well as more than £1,500 in cash from the vehicle and Rica’s clothing. Forensic tests would also match his fingerprints to the deal bags.
At Maidstone Crown Court, Rica, aged 25 and formerly of Clay Avenue, Mitcham pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, as well as two counts of possessing cannabis with intent to supply. He was sentenced on Tuesday 10 August 2021, to four years and ten months’ imprisonment.
Previously, in May 2020, Bledar Rica, aged 28, of Clay Avenue, Mitcham and Liman Dernova, aged 23, of Tandridge Drive, Orpington were also jailed for their roles in the criminal enterprise. Bledar Rica was sentenced to five years and seven months’ imprisonment. Dernova was sentenced four years and one month. A further five men, identified as drug runners, have also been jailed.
Detective Constable Katy Saunders said: ‘Rica was instrumental in a criminal network designed to supply as much cocaine to as many users as possible. He occupied a leading role in the conspiracy by directing and organising the sale and supply of drugs on a significant scale. Our evidence showed he even arranged insurance for the vehicles that local drug runners drove. Drugs fuel crime and exploitation and this latest sentence should act as a reminder that we remain determined to pursue and bring to justice those intent on supplying and targeting our communities.’