Drugs gang jailed for 40 years
Members of an extensive and deadly drugs ring spanning Preston, Bolton, Leicester and Rochdale were today beginning lengthy prison terms.
The criminal empire was brought to its knees in an undercover probe launched by Lancashire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit between August 2014 and July 2015.
It saw 1kg of heroin and 1kg of cocaine - worth approximately £180,000 - prevented from flooding the streets of Lancashire, and nearly £50,000 of ill gotten gains seized by officers.
The investigation into the Vlass A drug conspiracy, codenamed Operation Hombre, has resulted in 11 men - including seven from Preston - sentenced before Preston Crown Court.
Judge Robert Altham said: “The defendants were part of a large and sophisticated trade in class A drugs that had access to enormous sums of money.
“Those who trade in class A drugs do so for their personal gain. The profits can be enormous but this is at the exense of others.
“Wider society bears the costs.”
Prosecuting, Martin Reid described various undercover observations of the gangs activity, including on car parks, at petrol stations, retail parks and at each others homes.
Preston man Zahid Khan is said to have played a leading role in the conspiracy - though he pleaded guilty on the basis he was not the “head” of the gang.
Notorious Khan, known as “Shocker” to his criminal associates, is well known to the authorities and in 2009 was sentenced for his role in the kidnap of a rival drug dealer in 2008.
The married father of three was still on licence for this when these offences were committed.
DS Mark Lee from Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious Organised Crime Unit said: “Our investigation revealed that Khan and his associates couriered drugs around the county and beyond and laundered the proceeds of their drug deals.
“As a result of this operation, we have dismantled a significant drugs network, taking large quantities of cocaine and heroin off our streets and ensuring that those involved in the conspiracy have been brought to justice.”
Zahid Khan, 40, of Albert Terrace Preston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
Mahmoud Jaber, 33, of Arncliffe Avenue, Accrington was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
Mohammed Wasim Akhtar, 44, of Ashleigh Street, Preston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to six years and four months imprisonment.
Mohammed Miah, 35, of Cross Ormerod Street, Bolton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to eight years and four months imprisonment.
Nadeem Hussain, 28, of Falkland Avenue, Rochdale pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.
Wajid Hussain, 30, of Symonds Road, Preston was found guilty of conspiracy to launder money following a trial and sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Aroon Younus, 30, of St Georges Road, Preston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to 68 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to serve 180 hours of unpaid community work.
Shakeel Sawar, 26, of Cottam Avenue, Preston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and was sentenced to 42 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to serve 250 hours of unpaid community work.
Isaac Amin, 35, of Cromford Walk, Preston was found not guilty of conspiracy to launder money following a trial but pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis. He was previously given a suspended sentence.
Imran Patel, 30, of Trueway Road, Leicester will be sentenced on July 26. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to launder money.