A Leeds man, implicated in organised criminal activity, has been sentenced to imprisonment for drug-related offences, marking the latest conviction in a series targeting a criminal syndicate.

Edlir Gjoka, aged 28 and of no fixed address, was apprehended with a kilogram of cocaine in his possession during a routine stop by law enforcement officers on Tong Road, Bradford, on April 29 last year.

Appearing for sentencing on Thursday (14/3), Gjoka pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine, involvement in the supply of heroin, and involvement in the supply of cannabis. He received a sentence of 5 years and 3 months behind bars.

Gjoka’s conviction adds to the list of individuals brought to justice following investigations by the West Yorkshire Police’s Programme Precision Serious Organised Crime team.

This crackdown includes the arrest of gang leader Alban Rianga, who was apprehended in Bradford the day after Gjoka’s arrest.

Searches conducted at addresses linked to Rianga uncovered a functioning firearm, numerous large machetes, and over a kilogram of heroin.

Rianga, aged 22 and residing in Eden Mount, Headingley, admitted to possession of a firearm, possession with intent to supply heroin, and possession of ammunition. He was sentenced by Leeds Crown Court in December to a total of eight years imprisonment.

Prior to Gjoka and Rianga’s convictions, two other gang members had already been sentenced in separate hearings.

Zaccai Chambers, aged 22, received a sentence of 10 years and six months at Leeds Crown Court on November 3. He was found in possession of a revolver loaded with five rounds inside a man bag on June 2 the previous year. A subsequent search of his residence yielded three additional handguns, over £15,000 in cash, and cocaine valued at up to £9,900.

Jamal Gatewood, aged 24, received a sentence of five years and six months after being apprehended on June 3. Officers discovered a single-barrel shotgun, 40 shotgun cartridges, two 9mm casings, a machete, and a pink taser disguised as a mobile phone inside the vehicle he was travelling in.

Detective Inspector Paul Hutchinson, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This was a Programme Precision operation aimed at targeting a number of gang members in Leeds. The overall aim was to mitigate the threat posed by Rianga and his fellow gang members.

“I’m pleased that the courts have issued sentences that reflect the seriousness of their offending and the impact their activities.

“This group were involved in a sophisticated criminal enterprise which saw large amounts of controlled drugs, notably cocaine and heroin, being supplied to a large customer base across West Yorkshire.

“The activities of this drug dealing operation will have been responsible for causing a significant amount of gang violence in the Leeds area as reflected by the viable firearms and machetes that were seized alongside the drugs.”

“I have no doubt they were prepared to use them to try to maintain their status among criminals in the city.”

Detective Superintendent Heather Whoriskey, Head of Crime and Safeguarding for Leeds District, said: “The drug dealing activities of criminal gangs like this are intrinsically linked to gun and knife crime and directly fuel serious violence on our streets, which causes understandable concern in the community.

“We have seen several incidents, particularly in east Leeds, with young teenage males armed with machetes inflicting and receiving very serious injuries as part of feuding between these gangs, as well as other incidents where firearms have been discharged.

“The successful outcome of this investigation by specialist detectives from Protective Services Crime will have dealt a significant blow to this gang and we hope it will provide some reassurance to people in our communities.

“We will continue to take a robust and proactive approach, working closely alongside our partner agencies, using a range of tactics to disrupt and dismantle these groups and keep our communities safe.”