A man who used encrypted messaging platform EncroChat to run an illegal drug supply network has been jailed for 16 years and three months following an investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership.

Erion Nakdi, 38, from Surbiton, Surrey, was arrested while travelling to Luton Airport by officers from the OCP – a joint partnership between the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service – on 12 November 2020.

Erion NAKDI OCP

Upon his arrest, £5,000 was seized after being found in his suitcase.

Following a search of his home, officers recovered a further £5,000.

Messages obtained as part of Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of EncroChat – revealed how Nakdi used the platform to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs.

Using the handle ‘Taboocrow’, Nakdi exchanged over 4,000 messages detailing his plans to supply multiple areas across the UK – including London, Kent, Norwich, Manchester and Liverpool.

He stated that he had contacts in South America, and claimed he was able to bring over 50 kilos of cocaine in a week.

On one occasion Nakdi said he managed to sell ‘4 pieces for £35, 000’ – four pieces being equivalent to four kilos.

The messages showed his leading role in the criminal network, with multiple runners and drivers who would collect and drop off drugs and cash. In other instances, he would arrange to buy drugs from one organised crime group and sell onto another for profit.

Today [18 February] at Luton Crown Court, Nakdi was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (cocaine), possessing criminal property and money laundering offences. 

OCP Operations Manager, Andrew Tickner said:

“Nakdi played the role of a broker, acting as a middle man in various drug deals. He failed in his attempt to conceal his criminal activity by using an encrypted phone.

“He sought to make profit and supply multiple regions in the UK without considering the violence and exploitation Class A drugs cause.  

“I hope his lengthy sentence will serve as a reminder to those involved in the drugs trade that we’re committed to disrupting the supply chain at all levels.”