A fugitive medicine lord, uncovered within the Mail’s acclaimed ‘Albanian Narcos’ documentary for flooding the UK with cocaine, has been arrested by armed police in Turkey.
Dritan Rexhepi, in his early 40s, was held in a dramatic operation after his particulars have been circulated on an Interpol pink discover for drug smuggling and different offences together with homicide.
The worldwide crime baron, who has beforehand featured on a Scotland Yard Most Needed record due to his shut hyperlinks to England, is claimed to have been chief of a world drug cartel referred to as Kompanio Bello, which transports medicine from South America to Europe.
The Interpol discover was issued by the Italian and Albanian judicial authorities for crimes of ‘wilful homicide, medicine, kidnapping/deprivation of liberty, forgery of journey paperwork, weapons and ammunition’.
Officers in Turkey stated the person nicknamed the ‘King of Cocaine’ entered the nation through Istanbul Airport with a Colombian passport registered within the identify of ‘Benjamin Omar Perez Garcia’.
Dritan Rexhepi, the ringleader of the Kompanio Bello drug cartel, who was wished with a pink discover, was nabbed in a drug raid in Istanbul, the Turkish inside minister stated on Friday
‘Dritan Rexhepi, chief of the ‘Kompanio Bello’ drug cartel, exporting medicine from South America to Europe, was arrested,’ Turkey’s Inside Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated on X
Armed police stood guard as Rexhepi was hauled out of his hideout in Istanbul, Turkey
A triumphant police video of his arrest confirmed anti-narcotics officers in physique armour eradicating money, jewelry and watches from a protected at his hideout in an upmarket residence block in Istanbul. A revolver, thought to have belonged to the convicted killer, was additionally recovered.
As revealed within the Mail’s bombshell documentary Albanian Narcos: Bullets, Bloodshed & Britain on Mail+ and Mail On-line and accompanying two-part investigation revealed earlier this 12 months, Rexhepi’s whereabouts had been a thriller since he was controversially launched early from jail in Ecuador two years in the past.
Whereas behind bars within the South American nation, he continued masterminding the provision of huge portions of cocaine to the UK – the place he was a key goal of the Nationwide Crime Company, Britain’s model of the Nationwide Crime Company.
Within the Mail’s multi-media investigation in March, we revealed how Albanian narco gangs ensured now you can get cocaine in Britain faster than a pizza supply. In Ecuador, a ruthless native gangster who labored for a gang chief often called ‘Carlos the Satan’ instructed us of the terrifying bloodshed behind the operation to export cocaine to the UK.
The person, whom we referred to as Junior, appeared too scared to reply questions on Rexhepi. Requested about Albanian gangsters, linked to a string of drug-related mob murders in Ecuador, he stated: ‘In the event you fail, they kill’.
One prosecutor who has survived 5 assassination plots in Ecuador stated of Albanian medicine lords there: ‘They’re the masterminds and rent the hitmen’.
In extremely suspicious circumstances, Rexhepi was launched early from a 13 12 months sentence for drug trafficking in Ecuador. His jail time period didn’t finish his felony operations.
From his jail cell within the capital Quito, he allegedly used an encrypted cell phone to co-ordinate a ‘trans-national crime federation’ of Albanian drug traffickers often called Kompania Bello. A key vacation spot for his illicit cargo was the UK, with its £2billion cocaine market.
Rexhepi can also be believed to have ordered the homicide of an harmless man after a rival Albanian medicine gang allegedly stole thousands and thousands of kilos value of cocaine which he had had smuggled to Portsmouth on a container ship stuffed with bananas.
The sufferer’s solely ‘crime’- he was kidnapped and killed in Albania – was to be the brother of somebody who had supposedly double-crossed Rexhepi over the medicine consignment.
Video confirmed numerous automobiles heading to the hideout in Istanbul, Turkey
Officers stated the person nicknamed the ‘King of Cocaine’ entered Turkey through Istanbul Airport with a Colombian passport registered within the identify of ‘Benjamin Omar Perez Garcia’
The person was seen in dramatic footage being detained by armed Turkish police
Dritan Rexhepi, in his early 40s, was held in a dramatic operation after his particulars have been circulated on an Interpol pink discover for drug smuggling and different offences together with homicide
A number of months after his launch from jail, the felony mastermind disappeared off the radar in Ecuador – setting alarm bells ringing within the alleged narco state, the UK, elsewhere in western Europe and Albania.
In Albania he has been jailed for 25 years in absentia for 2 murders (together with that of a policeman) and is suspected of different killings. He’s additionally wished in Italy and Belgium, and has a number of identities.
He featured on Scotland Yard’s Most Needed Record of international criminals ten years in the past when he was considered hiding within the UK and he has hyperlinks to London, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Based on Europol, what set Rexhepi’s syndicate other than others was the way in which by which it managed the complete provide chain – from sourcing cocaine for export, to wholesale distribution and on to promoting on the streets of cities similar to Brighton, as we revealed in our documentary and Half One of many Mail investigation.
Ecuadorian legislation enforcement officers, who share intelligence with the NCA, admitted they have been not sure of the King of Cocaine’s location.
Formally, he was purported to signal a post-release register twice a month as a situation of his liberty, however a number of sources stated they suspected another person was doing it on his behalf.
Footage confirmed Turkish authorities exterior the constructing the place they arrested Rexhepi
Narcotics groups trawl by way of the suspect’s belongings throughout a raid in Istanbul, Turkey
Rexhepi’s whereabouts had been a thriller since he was controversially launched early from jail in Ecuador two years in the past. Pictured: Narcotics groups search the hideout
A police video of his arrest confirmed anti-narcotics officers in physique armour eradicating money, jewelry and watches from a protected at his hideout in an upmarket residence block in Istanbul
Pictured: a protected within the hideout with a handgun and rounds of ammunition
Watches and jewelry have been among the many belongings recovered through the raid
Video confirmed police going by way of a big protected and revealing the costly contents
Based on an anti-narcotics chief, investigations have been beneath manner into Rexhepi’s associate who had been making journeys to the Colombian capital, Bogota.
‘We’ve got little doubt that he could also be finishing up or returning to unlawful actions by way of his associate,’ he instructed the Mail, which spent a month in Ecuador investigating Albanian Narcos.
The path appeared to have gone chilly till Rexhepi turned up in Turkey in a triumph for international legislation enforcement.