GANG members have lost more than £25,000 of profits they made through dealing drugs.

Nine Albanians are serving a total of 45 years behind bars after being caught playing their part in a drugs and money laundering ring dealing cocaine in Brighton and Hove.

Four of them – including ring leader Mevlan Dema – have since been prosecuted to forfeit the cash seized by police during an undercover operation.

The money, as well as cocaine and vehicles worth several hundred thousand pounds were found in the gang’s possession in raids in June last year.

Magistrates in Brighton granted the applications under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Catering manager Mevlan Dema, 32, of St Michael’s Place, Brighton, will lose £13,985.

Kadri Dema, of Pool Valley, Brighton, has to hand over £7,130 and 210 euros.

Gjenti Caoa, of Queen’s Road, Brighton, has to pay £3,065 and Gledis Osmani, 22, of London Road, Brighton, pays £1, 265.

Half the money is given to the Home Office and half to the police force to reinvest in resources.

Property seized under the act is generally sold and converted into cash for community projects.

It is not yet clear if other members of the gang are set to face the same proceedings to recoup more profits. 

The news comes as the detectives who brought the group to justice over the course of the nine-month operation said the jail sentences meant a significant drug supply chain had been eradicated from the city.

Nine of the 12 men arrested in the investigation were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine.

They all admitted the charges when they appeared in court last year. Mevlan Dema also pleaded guilty to money laundering.

In March, Judge David Rennie handed prison terms to each one of them, praising the investigation as “policing at its best”.

Mevlan Dema was jailed for 13 years.Osmani was handed an eight-year sentence. Kadri Dema was sentenced to three and a half years, as were Izmir Dema, 25, Ramazam Capa, 21 and Gjenti Capa, 27, all of no fixed address, Ndricim Xhepha, 28, of London Road, Brighton, and Klinton Dani, 23, a kitchen porter, of Pool Valley, Brighton.

The gang’s second in command Leonard Dema, 35, of Pennymead, Harlow, Essex, was jailed for three years.

In the sting last summer, officers carried out simultaneous raids on properties in six streets around the city and a helicopter pursued the gang’s van. Officers also raided seven licensed premises – a pub, cafes, kebab shops and an off licence – believed to be linked to the gang.

This led to further investigations by customs and Trading Standards officials.


THIS close-knit family crime network had cornered a large portion of the city’s cocaine market.

The jail terms significantly disrupted the supply chain and told other drug dealers to watch out, detectives said.

The quality and volume of evidence – providing cast-iron proof of their crimes – meant the gang members had nowhere to turn and were forced to plead guilty.

But it was a difficult case to crack and the family had been the focus of police attention for years.

Speaking exclusively to The Argus, Detective Inspector Julie Wakeford said: “This was very difficult to work on because they were quite a tight group. They are all related to the ring leader Mevlan Dema in some way. They were a family crime group.”

Detective Sergeant Julian Deans said: “The [Albanian] community is very tight and not very trusting. A lot of work went into trying to gain their trust, letting them know they could trust the police and they could talk in confidence.”

DI Wakeford said the level of violence linked with this gang was of great concern so this undercover operation was a priority in a bid to protect the public.

The Dema dynasty is linked to gang warfare which erupted after a long-running feud in Hove in May 2004 where 23-year-old fellow Albanian and club doorman Altin Molita was murdered. Vionest Dema, Flamur Toppali and Ermir Dema are serving life sentences for stabbing him 20 times in his car after he finished work at Pussycats lap dance club in Church Road, Hove.

Endrit Llazari and Mevlan Dema were both cleared of those charges.

While this family was not behind another Albanian turf war in Hove in 2013 – where father-of-two Xhem Krasniqi was shot in the street – the detectives said this was a “prime example” of why such groups could be dangerous.

DI Wakeford said: “If they fall out they really don’t care who is around. They might be targeting each other but there is potential to affect any member of the public.”

But they stressed the majority of Albanians living and working in Brighton were law abiding.

DS Deans said over the course of their investigation they discovered the gang bringing in “very high purity cocaine” into the city.

He added: “We began by watching him [Mevlan Dema] and working on him – how he operated, how he would do his dealing and anyone he would come into contact with.”

Meticulously over nine months between September 2015 and June last year, the small group of detectives in the Brighton-based community investigation team gathered enough evidence to carry out a series of raids across the city. Officers struck on June 7, using a helicopter to tail a hired transit van suspected of carrying drugs for the gang as it drove towards Brighton on the A23.

It was stopped by squad cars while officers raided houses in Pool Valley, Preston Grange, Donald Hall Road, Regency Mews and London Road, all in Brighton, and Hove Park Villas, Hove, finding drugs and cash.

Mevlan Dema’s BMW was stopped in West Street, Brighton, and he was arrested when cocaine was found inside.

Two days later police, customs, immigration, licensing, Trading Standards and environmental health officials, seized more than 100 bottles of illegal alcohol from seven licensed Brighton premises believed to be linked to the gang; including Albion Kebabs and the Royal Standard pub, both in Queen’s Road and Italian café La Gio Gi in New Road.

This prompted various licensing investigations.

Councillors were told The Royal Standard – run by gang relative Alma Dema – had a “clear link to criminal activity” in November after 170 bottles of fake and illegal alcohol was seized.

The pub was allowed to keep its licence but owner Admiral Taverns was told Mrs Dema and fellow licensee Nick Humphries must be stripped of their responsibilities. and could not be involved with the premises in “any capacity”, among other sanctions.


ALBANIAN criminal gangs are a significant threat and have considerable control in the UK drug trafficking market, the National Crime Agency said.

In June – some four months after this Brighton gang was jailed – the organisation said it was increasingly concerned by what it called the Albanians’ “high profile influence” on organised crime.

Profit margins in the drugs trade remained substantial – particularly for cocaine – despite international efforts to disrupt the chain of the supply.

It said: “Criminals from the Balkans are increasingly expanding their network of influence, forming direct relationships with cocaine suppliers in Latin America.

“The threat faced from Albanian crime groups is significant. London is their primary hub but they are established across the UK.”

Albanian gangs were seen as of particular concern because of their reported “readiness to resort to serious violence”.

The report said statistically Albanians make up just 0.8 per cent of organised criminals in the UK, behind British nationals (61.6 per cent); unknown nationalities (23.5 per cent); Romanians (1.5 per cent); Pakistanis (1.2 per cent) and Polish (0.9 per cent).

The comments came as part of the agency’s annual assessment of the nature and scale of serious and organised crime in the country.

Experts investigating and following the movements of such criminals say they have taken over the cocaine market in recent years.

They claimed the groups tend to launder small amounts of money through businesses like car washes and fixed-odds betting terminals.

The agency’s deputy director general Matthew Horne said: “It’s very much a group that’s small in number but big in impact.

“We have seen an emergence of violence, particularly around enforcing the drug trade, in this group.

“We are seeing significant control being exerted. You are talking about tens of thousands [of pounds] generally in transactions every week.”

DI Wakeford has said while lengthy sentences are a boost for the team their work is never done.

When she was previously interviewed by The Argus over her team's work to secure another significant drugs conviction in the city of a multi-million drug gang operating mainly out of Woodingdean who were jailed in May, she said: "We take one group out and another will come. It’s going to happen all the time.

"There’s the market here for it and the money takes them here.

"Dealers are always going to match what the market wants.

"We do a lot of work with drug treatment services to see how we can help to reduce the demand.

"Our work here is to make sure none of those gangs gain a foothold on the market which can lead to other problems like violence."

The team are also behind the 59 arrests in April after a six month crackdown investigating London gangs targetting vulnerable adults and teenagers to supply heroin.