Exclusive: Notorious Albanian gangster smuggles mobile phone into British prison cell to post birthday wishes to family

·3 min read
PEPAJ INSTAGRAM
PEPAJ INSTAGRAM

An Albanian gangster jailed for 27-years for smuggling huge quantities of heroin and cocaine into Britain has been making a mockery of justice by running a social media account from his prison cell.

Posing with fellow gang members, Valjet Pepaj, has even used Instagram to flirt with women on the outside, boasting that he expects to be free in four years.

The 31-year-old was given a lengthy sentence in April 2018 after admitting three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

He was jailed alongside two other men following a six month undercover police operation which resulted in the seizure of 50 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, worth in excess of £2 million.

PEPAJ INSTAGRAM
PEPAJ INSTAGRAM

Pepaj was believed to be the head of a ruthless Albanian organised criminal gang that was muscling its way into the UK drug dealing market.

When he was jailed a senior Scotland Yard detective said: “The sentencing reflects the level of criminality these defendants were involved in and should be seen as a strong deterrent for others involved in the importation and distribution of Class A drugs.”

But it has now emerged that he and some of his former gang members have been using illegal mobile phones in prison to keep in contact with their families and friends via social media.

Private Instagram accounts, that The Telegraph has seen, show Pepaj posing in designer clothing in his cell with other inmates.

In the picture below he can be seen alongside fellow Albanian gangster, Edi Vyzaj (left), who was jailed for 18-years for his role in the same drug smuggling plot.

PEPAJ 1 INSTASTORY 
PEPAJ 1 INSTASTORY

On Christmas Eve Pepaj posted a message to his family and friends which said: “Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.”

The following day Vyzaj posted a video on social media of him with another prisoner complete with an ironic Covid-19 slogan, ‘Stay Home’.

Just after 4pm on Christmas Day, Pepaj also had a long exchange on Instagram with an Albanian undercover reporter posing as a female who wanted to make his acquaintance.

When asked where he lived Pepaj replied: “I live in England in prison.” Pressed on how long he had to serve, he glossed over the reality and said: “I have to do four more years.”

Asked if he was allowed to have a mobile phone in prison he replied: “It’s not allowed but we have it.”

The following day the pair exchanged messages again and this time the reporter said she did not believe he was in prison and asked him to prove it.

At that point Pepaj sent a short video showing the bars on his cell. Pepaj then sent a short video showing the windows of his jail.

The undercover reporter then suggested they speak directly on WhatsApp and asked him to provide his mobile phone number which he did, telling her to call him after 4pm.

It is illegal for prisoners to have and use mobile phones, but they are often smuggled into jails along with other contraband and change hands for up to £1,000 each.

Each year prison staff find and confiscate around 20,000 phones and SIM cards and inmates who are caught with the devices can face up to two more years in prison.

A prison service source said the authorities had been made aware of the allegations about Pepaj and his friends using mobile phones in their cells and were looking into the matter.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: “We are spending £100 million on prison security, including X-ray body scanners, signal-blocking technology and dogs trained to sniff out mobiles.

“Anyone caught with a phone will be punished and faces two additional years behind bars.”

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