Two men who were caught with 8.5 kilos of cocaine and over £15,000 in cash have been sentenced.

Shpend Vata, 32, from Golders Green, London, and Gentjan Murati, 34, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, had been arrested following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service’s Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).

On 27 November 2018, Vata arrived at Lancaster Road, Hitchin, in a grey Volvo car - and had been seen entering a flat carrying a blue rucksack.

Within five minutes he came out of the address carrying the same rucksack. He was stopped by OCP officers in nearby Bedford Road, who found £17,000 cash in the rucksack.

A kilo of cocaine had also been found under the front passenger seat of the Volvo.

But Vata had told officers that he did “not agree with being arrested for possession to supply” and was “just transporting the drugs”. Vata also claimed that he “wasn’t supplying anyone”.

Following a search of Vata’s home in Finchley Road, however, a further six kilos of cocaine and a number of mobile phones had been recovered .

Officers had also found Murati in possession of a kilo block of cocaine as they entered his flat in Lancaster Road, Hitchin, after executing a search warrant.

Vata and Murati were both arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Vata was jailed for seven years 10 months and Murati six years at Woolwich Crown Court (Friday 21 June).

Matt McMillan from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Vata and Murati were both used by an organised crime group to distribute class A drugs across London.

“These professional enablers are a crucial link in the chain of drug trafficking, and by disrupting their activity, we are having a real impact on the wider activity of organised criminals.

“We know that these gangs rely on cash flow and confiscating the money that is so important to their business stops them from investing in other criminal activity.

“We will continue to do all we can to stop organised crime groups and will use all the tools available to us.”