Eleven members of a drugs gang have been jailed for a total of more than 60 years for their roles in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
A court heard the drugs had a street value of around £1.8m. and were supplied throughout East Lancashire and the North-West.
The men were also sentenced for money laundering the huge amount of cash it generated.
The men were among 13 sentenced at Preston Crown Court for supplying Class A drugs or money laundering offences.
They were arrested and charged following Operation Forester, a two-year investigation by Lancashire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit into the supply of heroin and cocaine on the streets of Brierfield, Burnley, Nelson and Colne and the wholesale supply of the drugs to the wider region.
Appearing for sentence were Haroon Mahmood (25), of John Street, Brierfield; Ziad Khaliq (29), of Devonshire Road, Burnley; Shiraz Afzal (28), of Limefield Avenue, Brierfield; Mohammed Furqan Amjad (25), of Halifax Road, Brierfield; Mohammed Zishan Amjad (27), of Eskdale Close, Burnley; Anwar Ahmed (28), of Colne Road, Burnley; Neil Hazelwood (30) and David Hazelwood (42), both of Ben Brierley Wharf, Failsworth; Ihsaan Ali (36), of Heyhead Street, Brierfield; James Taylor (41), of Motrovia Crescent, Liverpool; Shahid Akhtar (39), of North Street, Huddersfield; Carl Daniels (40), of Bela Avenue, Bradford, and Mohammed Azad (60), of Carlton Walk, Shipley.
These sentences should serve as a warning to those who are involved in such criminality – we will continue to dismantle drugs supply networks by bringing those responsible to justiceDI Simon Brooksbank
The investigation began in June, 2013, and incorporated a drugs operation carried out by the Burnley Targeted Crime Unit, codenamed Operation Fermoy.
Brothers Mohammed Furqan Amjad and Mohammed Zishan Amjad, along with Shiraz Afzal and Anwar Ahmed, were the organisers behind the supply of the drugs and distributed them via a variety of drug dealers throughout Brierfield and the North-West.
During the investigation, officers recovered a total of 8kg heroin with a street value of over £1.5m. and 2kg of cocaine with a street value of over £300,000, and also seized a total of £100,000 in cash and a Mercedes sports car valued at £15,000.
More than 18 premises in the Burnley, Brierfield and Barnoldswick areas were searched as part of the operation, as well as addresses in the Greater Manchester and Merseyside areas.
When searching Shiraz Afzal’s address in Brierfield, officers found over £14,000 in cash concealed in various denominations throughout the house, with some of it stashed in a leather bean bag in the living room.
Drugs paraphernalia, including weighing scales and bags, were seized from an address in Colne Road, Burnley, which was used by the group for storing and repackaging the drugs.
The operation also led to the recovery of more than 6,000 amphetamine tablets worth a street value of £66,000 and 4kg of cannabis skunk with a street value of £36,000 from David and Neil Hazelwood’s address in Failsworth, Greater Manchester.
DI Simon Brooksbank from Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit said:“The sentences handed down to these men are the culmination of a long and complex investigation carried out by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit.
“The investigation established that this gang were responsible for a major drugs supply network incorporating all levels of drug dealing, from street level up to major trafficking into and around the North-West region over a sustained period of time.
“These individuals caused significant problems on the streets of Brierfield and Burnley as a result of their drug dealing and other criminality. I hope the fact that these men have now been jailed reassures local residents that we are committed to tackling organised crime on this scale, in turn helping to make their streets a safer place to live.
“Drugs cause serious harm to our communities and we will not tolerate the supply of drugs anywhere in our county and further afield. These sentences should also serve as a warning to those who are involved in such criminality – we will continue to dismantle drugs supply networks by bringing those responsible to justice.”