London cafe boss accused of smuggling heroin to be extradited to Italy
London cafe boss, 34, from Albania who is accused of smuggling heroin across Europe as part of major drug trafficking ring will be extradited to Italy
- Taulant Stoica, 34, is accused of smuggling drugs from Netherlands into Italy
- Allegedly conspired with 38 other people to transport and distribute heroin
- Prosecutors claim set up Roma Milano Cafe in Walthamstow as a front business
A London cafe boss from Albania who is accused of smuggling heroin across Europe as part of a major drug trafficking ring will be extradited to Italy.
Taulant Stoica, 34, is accused of smuggling drugs from the Netherlands into Italy between December 2015 and February 2016.
He allegedly conspired with 38 others who helped transport and distribute the Class A drugs into Italy.
Prosecutors claim the father of four of Brampton Road, Bexleyheath, Kent, fled to the UK and set up Roma Milano Café in Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow, east London, as a front to avoid arrest.
Taulant Stoica, 34, is accused of smuggling heroin from the Netherlands into Italy and prosecutors claim he set up Milano Café in Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow, London, as a front to avoid arrest
But Stoica, who entered the dock wearing a Louis Vuitton face mask, claimed an official document sent to him by his Italian lawyer confirmed the arrest warrant had been dropped.
Stoica, earlier granted bail after he paid a £20,000 surety to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, spoke to confirm his name and age through an interpreter.
Louisa Collins, defending, said: ‘I received a communication this morning that the EU arrest warrant has been withdrawn.
‘I’ve been sent a document by Mr Stoica’s Italian lawyer, there is an order that has been provided and it’s dated today’s date, the 1 Feb 2021.
‘The hearing took place on 28 January. The decision I think was made on that date but a formal copy of the order was made this morning.
‘I don’t have a translation of that document.
‘The end of it seems to suggest the EU arrest warrant seems to be revoked.’
Stoica, earlier granted bail after he paid a £20,000 surety to Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Amanda Bostock, for the Italian government, said the Crown Prosecution Service had not received confirmation about the decision to revoke the arrest warrant.
Addressing the judge, Ms Bostock said: ‘Sir, we made contact with the Italian liaison magistrate but she was not aware of a request for the EU arrest warrant to be withdrawn.’
District Judge John Bristow told Stoica: ‘I first heard the extradition hearing on 7 December last year. I was not able to hand judgment down on 6 January because I had not received by that date a confirmation that the arrest warrant in Italy had been withdrawn.
‘As you know, I indicated to you on 6 January that I would hand judgment down today unless it had been conclusively proved that the European arrest warrant had been withdrawn by the Italian authorities.
‘Despite what Ms Collins has submitted on your behalf, and despite her best efforts this morning, I am not persuaded that I can be clear that the European arrest warrant has been withdrawn by the Italian authorities.
Stoica, who denies drug trafficking, has had his passport surrendered to the police. Picture: Stock
‘I am sure that the Italian authorities have made a decision to prosecute you.
‘I am sure that your extradition to Italy is compatible with your convention right to respect for your private and family life. I am sure that extradition would not be disproportionate and so accordingly, I order your extradition to Italy.’
The judge ordered Stoica not to enter any international travel hubs, or apply for international documents or be in possession of any such documents.
He was bailed on condition he resides at his home address, observes an electronically monitored curfew from midnight to 4 am, and keeps with him at all times a mobile, and answers any incoming calls.
Stoica’s passport has been surrendered to police.
Judge Bristow added: ‘If the UK authorities ask you to surrender at any given time, must do so.’
Stoica denies drug trafficking. He has seven days to appeal the judge’s decision or he will be removed to Italy.
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