(l-r) Canaj, Sadikaj, Adem
(l-r) Canaj, Sadikaj, Adem

Three members of a drugs operation which flooded the streets of north London with heroin have been caught in a police sting operation.

Elidon Sadikaj, 30, Klodian Canaj, 34 and Ozkan Adem, 57, were caught by police officers with half a kilo of heroin in a plastic bag.

The trio met in Lewisham, south London, with the stash worth £35,000. Surveillance officers watched as Safikaj and Canaj drove around local streets before pulling over near Grove Park.

Soon afterward, Adem pulled up in his car and then jumped into his accomplices' vehicle, grasping a plastic bag. It was gone when he stepped out of the vehicle a couple of minutes later.

The watching police sprung into action and arrested all three at the scene. At Woolwich crown court, Adem was jailed for four years while Sadikaj and Canaj both received two-and-a-half year sentences.

The jury heard that the three defendants were members of Turkish and Albanian gangs which are responsible for up to 80 percent of the heroin which reaches the streets of London.

Up to 95 percent of heroin seized in Britain comes via Turkey. The highly organised and family-controlled operation has been likened to a Mafia outfit.

DCI Lee Hill of the London Crime Squad said: "The operation leading to the conviction and sentencing of these three men is a clear illustration that the Met is committed to tackling criminal networks intent on supplying drugs and making a profit from their illicit activities.

"The purpose of this operation was to target those involved in the supply of drugs among the Albanian and Turkish organised criminal networks. We sought to stop an escalation of violence between competing gangs within these communities by targeting their members and stripping these organisations of their criminal assets.

"The operation has culminated in the arrest, charge and conviction of Sadikaj, Canaj and Adem and has removed three key individuals off the streets of London, and whilst this is a positive result our work does not end here."