Two cocaine dealers have been jailed after they were found sleeping next to their drug-dealing phones in a city centre raid.
Artan Merkaj, 30, and Berti Ruko, 29, from Victoria Bridge Street, Manchester, were jailed at Manchester Crown Square after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Ruko, who also pleaded guilty to possessing false identity documents, was previously arrested in July 2015 as part of an investigation into the supply of drugs in the city centre and deported from the UK having entered the country illegally.
At the time of his arrest, his phone was seized and further enquiries established that his phone number was used as a drug line.
Artan Merkaj (left) , 30, and Berti Ruko (right), 29, from Victoria Bridge Street, Manchester, were found sleeping next to several mobile phones full of messages from customers. Ruko, was previously arrested in July 2015 as part of an investigation into the supply of drugs in the city centre and deported from the UK having entered the country illegally.
He illegally returned to the UK some time later and continued to use this phone as a drugs line, receiving numerous messages from customers asking for cocaine to be delivered across the city.
In the early hours of September 14 2017, officers executed a warrant at a flat Ruko and Merkaj shared on Victoria Bridge Street and found Ruko sleeping next to four of his drug-dealing phones.
When officers went into Merkaj’s room, they found another four phones on his pillow and two on his bedside table.
Police also found messages on the phones, with one customer asking: ‘Yo dude round near Schloss can I get a g.’
Yesterday Ruko was sentenced to five years and two months in prison and Merkaj has to four years and three months. Pictured: Manchester Crown Court on Minshull Street
Another message read: ‘Hey can you drop off a gram of coke?’
In the raid, officers also discovered a notebook used to track money and the drugs supplied, detailing combined sales of around £30,000 every week.
Yesterday Ruko was sentenced to five years and two months in prison and Merkaj has to four years and three months.
Police Constable Paul Halliwell of GMP’s Challenger Team said: ‘Thanks to the hard work of officers in this case and their persistence, we were able to prove Ruko and Merkaj’s central role in supplying drugs across the city centre and disrupt their entire operation.
‘We have now been able to take two very established drug dealers off the street and today’s result should act as a warning to other people out there, that the supply of drugs will not be tolerated.
‘Merkaj and Ruko were sleeping soundly next to their drug-dealing phones, but they won’t be able to rest so easily now they’re behind bars.’