A man has been convicted of money laundering offences after officers seized an estimated £800k in cash following a routine traffic stop in north London.
Elisian Belishaku, 32 (15.07.88), of New River Avenue, Haringey, appeared at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday, 19 November where he pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing and concealing criminal property.
At approximately 17:30hrs on Tuesday, 26 May officers from the Met’s Operation Venice Scorpion team carried out a traffic stop on a vehicle in Colney Hatch Lane, N10.
A vehicle check showed that the car was last registered in Cumbria and currently shown in trade. Belishaku, the driver of the vehicle, was not on the insurance policy and further checks showed that he did not hold a UK driving license.
When officers searched the vehicle, they found around £15k in cash in blue carrier bags on the backseat. Belishaku was unable to account for why he had this much money on him.
He was arrested under the Proceeds of Crime Act and was taken to a north London police station.
Officers from Operation Venice Scorpion team then executed a search warrant at his home address in Haringey.
At this address, keys were found for a vehicle registered to Belishaku. The vehicle was located in an underground car park. Inside this vehicle, they uncovered an estimated £800k in cash stored in shoe boxes and rucksacks.
Belishaku was charged on Wednesday, 27 May with possessing criminal property. He was remanded in custody to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 28 May.
Detective Superintendent Gary Miles, head of the Met’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “The evidence compiled by the North West Economic Crime Unit was so strong that Belishaku had no choice but to plead guilty.
“This is a great result involving officers from the Met’s Operation Venice Scorpion drivers, who use motorbikes and cars to stop criminals using powered two-wheelers, and progressed by the Economic Crime Unit, who carry out specialist investigations into high-level economic crime cases in order to secure convictions and deprive criminals the proceeds of their crimes.
“It also reiterates the importance of routine vehicle stops in protecting local communities from many types of criminality - often leading officers to uncover crimes more serious and complex than the initial reason for the stop.
“There is no justifiable reason for this much cash not to be kept in a bank account, unless it has been sourced from ill-gotten activities involving criminality.
“Our detectives work around the clock, alongside, and supported by officers from various other units, to tackle serious and organised crime. We will continue to work with them to arrest and prosecute those who believe they can get away with criminal behaviour in the capital.”