A man caught supplying cocaine from a car park in Tunbridge Wells has become the latest drug dealer in the town to be sentenced to prison.
Endrit Cerpja was found with supplies of cocaine, cannabis and a fake driving licence when he was stopped by patrols in the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre car park, during the evening of 9 November 2019.
Cerpja had been at the wheel of a red Honda Insight when officers from the town’s Community Policing Team approached the vehicle and immediately detected the smell of cannabis. He was detained for a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act and eight deals of cocaine, as well as a quantity of cannabis, were seized from the car. Cerpja had almost £500 in cash in his possession and was also carrying an Italian driving licence. Checks confirmed the 23-year-old was of Albanian decent and the document was false.
Cerpja, of no fixed address, was arrested and during police interview claimed that in 2017 he had been trafficked to the UK against his will. He said he had been ordered to supply drugs to repay a debt to an organised criminal gang. He was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to supply, possessing cannabis and with possession of identity documents with improper intention (in relation to the false driving licence). Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court, Cerpja pleaded guilty and on Friday 3 July 2020 was sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment.
Sergeant Ed Kavanagh, of the Tunbridge Wells Community Policing Team, said: ‘Cerpja wanted us to believe that he was the victim; with claims he had been coerced to supply drugs and was the subject of offences relating to modern day slavery. This was shown to be a pack of lies and the reality is that he was simply another dealer who wrongly thought he could operate in Tunbridge Wells, without consequence.
‘This sentence is just the latest in a number of recent successful convictions of drug dealers who have tried to target Tunbridge Wells. It illustrates just how effective our officers are in identifying offenders, many of whom are travelling from other areas of the country, assuming we are a soft touch. I’d like to reassure residents that we will continue to deal robustly with anyone involved in the supply of drugs, to ensure that they get the punishment they deserve. There will be no let up.’