"When heroin is placed on the streets it creates misery to many."
Two leaders of an international drugs ring were jailed on July 3rd after being convicted of smuggling over £1.5 million of heroin into the UK.
The drug dealing group were found to have smuggled an incredible 46kg of pure heroin from Pakistan. During this period, their mules were caught only twice bringing the drug through Birmingham airport.
The pair were finally caught by an on-going National Crime Agency investigation which also worked with their counterparts across Europe to bring the pair to justice. Both were eventually trialled and sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
In charge of the group was Tahir Mahmood from Ridge Grove, Stourbridge. Aged 53, Mahmood was jailed for 16 years. His right hand man Anwar Bashir, aged 43 from Bradford, was locked up for 15 years.
In their investigation, the NCA described that Mahmood and Bashir would travel from the UK to Amsterdam and the catch a train to Dusseldorf airport, which they found lacked high security.
The NCA was alerted and then led to Mahmood and Bashir after customs officials in Spain, Austria and Pakistan, where the drugs originated, seized the class A contraband.
Mahmood’s home was bugged, and the Spanish authorities also recorded car and telephone intercepts which helped lead to the arrest.
Both have been charged with a delivery of heroin through Birmingham airport in December 2012, using CCTV footage as convicting evidence.
CCTV captured Mahmood and Bashir waiting for a courier, Mamad Chagani. They then also waited for a cab with the mule delivering the drugs. This cab was pulled over by the police and the heroin seized.
Police discovered almost 4 kg of heroin on the mule. Chagani had this time flown from Islamabad to Karachi, to Dubai and then to Birmingham. He was wearing a body suit stuffed with heroin.
Bashir stopped trading drugs shortly after this case. Mahmood however met another mule bringing heroin to Birmingham on March 21, 2013.
The mule was arrested shortly after his arrival and failed to meet Mahmood. Yet a note in his pocket linked him to the drug lord.
Paul Risby, Branch Commander at the National Crime Agency, welcomed the harsh sentences given to Mahmood and Bashir.
He said: “Tackling the supply of drugs on a global level and protecting the UK’s borders are priorities for the NCA and its partners. They are now behind bars where they belong.”
The judge presiding over the case, His Honour James Burbidge, told the pair: “When heroin is placed on the streets it creates misery to many. Many families are blighted, many communities blighted and you wanted to make money out of that.”
The judge’s words emphasise the drugs culture at the heart of many communities in the UK.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, almost 850, 000 adults will have taken a class A drug in the last year.
This is particularly a problem in the British Asian community, where the national trend of high drug distribution and use among 16-29 year-olds is more pronounced.
With such a high profile case busted and the perpetrators charged, the National Crime Agency hopes that it can successfully tackle more cases of drug trafficking in the UK.