A man has been jailed for 15 years after admitting a conspiracy to supply cocaine and launder thousands of pounds.

Ervin Patru, aged 43 from Albania, was arrested at his home in Harrow at Maryatt Avenue as part of a joint investigation in December 2020.

The investigation was launched after officers analysed messages shared by Patru on Encrochat, an encrypted messaging platform that was mainly used by criminals and brought down after a Europe-wide investigation.

Under the alias ‘veteranbeer’, Patru exchanged 14,000 lines of messages about selling Class A drugs.

Messages were also found linking Patru to a previous arrest of when an Albanian national was found with four kilos of cocaine following a high-speed police chase.

The message mentioned four ‘packets’ which ‘got seized’ and he expressed relief that a ‘fallen’ associate did not ‘talk and f*** everything up.’

Following the investigation, he was charged on December 11 last year with Class A drug supply and money laundering offences.

Patru pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced on Tuesday (June 22) at Harrow Crown Court to 15 years in prison.

OCP Operations Manager Matt McMillan said: “Disrupting the communications between criminals on digital platforms is a crucial part of preventing illegal drugs from reaching streets in the UK.

“The apprehensive tone of Patru’s messages indicates the success of our collective efforts to disrupt the trade in class A drugs, which fuels violence and exploitation.

“This investigation is yet another example of the NCA and Met Police working together to protect the public.”