Albanian double murderer was twice allowed to sneak into Britain and live here for years due to ‘shocking’ immigration failings

Source: Daily Mail

An Albanian double murderer was twice allowed to sneak into Britain and live here for years.

Gentian Doda, a member of a notorious crime syndicate, was granted a British passport under a false name while on the run for the killings – which included gunning down an innocent young father with a Kalashnikov.

Despite being named as one of Crimestoppers’ most wanted suspects, he was able to stay in this country for 13 years. He was only caught thanks to the US authorities, who checked his fingerprints after he flew to Los Angeles on his bogus passport.

Doda was deported and had his passport confiscated. But four years later, after allegedly bribing a judge in his homeland to free him, he was able to slip back into the UK, where he remained for another two years. He has finally been rearrested and will be deported to Albania for a second time.

But critics warned the ‘shocking’ case raises new questions about the ease with which dangerous foreign criminals can slip into the UK and obtain citizenship.

Doda, 40, is a member of the feared Kola Gangs syndicate. He became one of Europe’s most wanted fugitives after gunning down two men in Burrel, northern Albania, in 1997.

Along with four accomplices, the then 18-year-old ambushed a rival gang leader and opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. The rival was killed, as was Asllan Gjoka, a bystander who was sprayed with bullets.

Doda fled to the UK, where he sought asylum, claiming he was a refugee named Azem Shaqiri whose father and brother had been murdered for their political activities with the Kosovo Liberation Army. He successfully claimed citizenship and a passport in 2004 – three years after being convicted of double murder in absentia in Albania and sentenced to 20 years.

A year after getting his passport, he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in London, but the authorities still failed to work out his true identity.

Interpol later issued an alert for his arrest, and in 2009 Crimestoppers named him as one of 16 of Europe’s most wanted men thought to be in Britain. He twice made trips back to Albania on his UK passport in a fake name.

Doda was finally caught in 2011 in Los Angeles. During a subsequent investigation, he was unable to spell the name Mitrovica – the Kosovan town that he claimed to come from – or recall the address of the house where he supposedly grew up. He was extradited to Albania in 2012 and jailed for the two killings. But after four years behind bars, he allegedly paid a judge £26,500 to release him early by downgrading his conviction from ‘murder’ to ‘injury’.

After his release, Doda sneaked back into the UK for a second time. In 2017, Albanian police issued another arrest warrant for him for bribing a judge. But it wasn’t until May this year that he was tracked down in north London and arrested.

Alp Mehmet, of Migration Watch UK, said: ‘Our immigration and asylum system is clearly not working and the consequences are all too apparent in this shocking case.’

An estimated 100,000 refugees from Kosovo are believed to have fled civil war to claim asylum in the UK in the 1990s. But thousands of Albanians are also believed to have used the crisis to claim they were from Kosovo. Some have later been revealed to be hardened criminals.

Doda’s drug baron brother, Admir, also came to the UK illegally and was eventually jailed for 15 years in London in 2013 for importing huge quantities of high purity cocaine.

The Home Office declined to comment on how Doda had managed to return to the UK.

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