Eastbourne-based drug dealer Agim Toska who used a patisserie in the town as a front for money laundering is to repay more than £500,000 in assets and more that £200,000 cash, acquired through his illegal activities.
Toska, 27, of Milton Road, Eastbourne, had operated ‘The Pastry Shop’ in Seaside Road, Eastbourne, presenting himself as a legitimate local business owner. But local detectives were investigating him and several associates, and he was arrested in July 2018.
He was later convicted of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs of cocaine and cannabis, and money laundering and on 9 April 2019 he was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court to nine years and seven months imprisonment.
But police enquiries did not end there. Expert financial investigators from Sussex Police took up the trail and yesterday (May 4th) at the same Court a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) was granted against him in the amount of £511,668, including £203,934 cash which police seized at the time of his arrest in 2018. Toska will have to sell property and a vehicle to pay the order within three months or will face a further seven years imprisonment and will still have to pay.
Detective Inspector Mark O’Brien of the force’s Economic Crime Unit said: “These Orders result from the hard work of our expert financial investigators, building on the success of the investigating detectives.
“We aim to target not just the criminals but also their profits, whether they are from drug dealing or any other form of criminal activity. It can take time and each investigation results in an application for a court-authorised Confiscation Order.”
Any funds obtained through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to central Government. However a proportion is returned to the police and in this case Sussex Police will receive 50 per cent of cash forfeitures and 18.75 per cent of seized confiscation orders.
POCA funding received by Sussex Police is then distributed equally between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force.
The force currently employ extra Financial Investigators and Financial Intelligence Officers from part of these funds to continue the fight in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used to support crime reduction and diversion projects.