Two men convicted for ‘outrageous and blatant’ drug dealing at Ilford station

Ilford Station.

Ilford Station. - Credit: Archant

Two members of a gang that turned Ilford station into an open drugs market have today been convicted, after a three-week trial.

At Blackfriars Crown Court this afternoon Klevis Locaj, 20, was found guilty of conspiring to supply heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, while Abdul Boota, 18, was convicted on just heroin and cannabis charges.

Locaj and Boota helped turn the area around Ilford station, in Cranbrook Road, into an open market for drug dealing.

As surveillance footage gathered by undercover British Transport Police officers was aired in court, a picture began to emerge of a complex drug-dealing system.

The pair used any nook and cranny around the station, particularly the Costa Coffee opposite, to hide their stashes of illegal narcotics.

They even got involved in a turf war with a Somalian gang, and residents described the dealing as making their lives “a living nightmare”.

Concluding the case, Judge Henry Blacksell QC hit out at the behaviour of those involved in turning the town centre into such a hive of anti-social behaviour.

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He told the court: “There will be more of this discussed at sentencing, but what was going on in Ilford was outrageous.

“It was utterly pernicious. Why should the people of Ilford have to be subjected to this blatant behaviour, which these men thought they would get away with because it didn’t matter.

“They don’t, and they should never be seen to, rule the streets.”

Edison Capa, 19, and Xhefri Kheta, 30, were both found not guilty.

Sitting in the public gallery, the girlfriends of Mr Capa and Mr Kheta cried tears of joy as they learned the verdicts.

Mr Kheta was handed a seven-month prison sentence for owning a fake Romanian driving licence police officers discovered upon searching his home in September.

Locaj and Boota will now join seven other drug dealers, all of whom pleaded guilty upon arrest, in being sentenced later this month.