"Where there are drug gangs, there are likely to be guns."
Nine Asian men have been jailed for a total of 64 years and 10 months for crimes related to drugs and firearms.
They all have dealings with a gang in the West Midlands, led by Nosakhere Stephenson or better known as the ‘Godfather’ of the Burger Bar Boys.
Mohammed Selu Miah has received the heftiest jail sentence of 13 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
He bought a MAC 10 machine gun and 9mm ammunition from Stephenson’s gang, after two members of his gang were shot in Albert Road, Aston on July 31, 2014.
In addition, he was caught in a transaction involving around half a kilo of heroin. He pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs.
Mohammed Ullah, who assisted Miah in storing the firearms in his back garden, has been jailed for five years after being found guilty at trial.
Ifran Hussain also obtained armoury from Stephenson’s gang by sending Janed Mohammed and Mohammed Fedar to make the purchase with cash.
Soon after that, Hussain was arrested in his apartment in Birmingham, where cocaine and heroin worth £20,000 was found alongside £7,000 of cash money concealed in a rice bag.
Hussain will serve 10 years and 10 months in prison. Mohammed also gets jail time of four years and six months, while Fedar gets four years and four months.
Rowan Gul is sentenced to 12 year and three months, after deemed as a ‘significant link’ between suppliers and buyers of armed weapons by the court.
Joga Mattu will spend five years behind bars after the police found a Walther handgun in his car.
Usman Hussain of Sheldon has been sentenced to five years, and Amar Ghalib of Perry Barr gets four years and 11 months.
Stephenson, the ‘Godfather’ and ‘untouchable’ leader of the Burger Bar Boys, will serve 16 years and six months in prison.
Judge James Burbidge says: “You were the go-to man and directing mind of this organised crime group if firearms were required.
“In reality, the conspiracy did not operate without you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis explains how the 41-year-old was able to manipulate and command his gang members:
“He tried his best to distance himself from his accomplices, but the exacting work of my team, poring over CCTV, phone records, vehicle movements and forensic work enabled us to prove he was at the centre of this…extremely dangerous gun supply network.”
Judge Burbidge adds: “[The MAC 10] is clearly a most fearsome weapon having the ability to spray bullets with a single squeeze of the trigger. This can have indiscriminate results.
“You must know about the devastation caused to other families in your community when weapons have been used.
“The fact you must know that, yet still ply this trade, is beyond belief.”
His right-hand man, Sundish Nazran, is jailed for 13 years.
Here is the full list of defendants convicted in the case:
- Mohammed Selu Miah, 24, of Downside Road, Birmingham ~ 13 years
- Rowan Gul, 33, of Bickley Grove ~ 12 years and three months
- Ifran Hussain, 25, of Underwood Road, Handsworth Wood ~ 10 years 10 months
- Theodore Wiggan, 28, of Scaffell Way, West Bromwich ~ 10 years
- Louis McDermott, 36, of Monins Avenue, Tipton ~ nine years and four months
- Fitzroy Ducram, 50, of Raglan Road, Handsworth ~ seven years and four months
- Joynal Abdin, 26, of Hanover Close, Aston, Birmingham ~ seven years and three months
- Amar Ghalib, 32, of Davey Road, Perry Barr ~ four years and eleven months
- Janed Mohammed, 21, of Dibble Road, Smethwick ~ four years and six months
- Mohammed Fedar, 27, of Westfield Road, Smethwick ~ four years and four months
- Mohammed Ullah, 19, of Frederick Road, Aston ~ five years
- Usman Hussain, 31, of Brays Road, Sheldon ~ five years
- Joga Mattu, 31, of Cranbrook Road, Handsworth ~ five years
Three more men – Darren Mentore, Clinton Officer and Jamal Shaka – will be sentenced in January 2016.
Although gun crime in the UK has seen a steady decrease (7 per cent down from 2014), the police continues to work tirelessly to dissemble the criminal networks.
As Inspector Wallis says: “All cities have challenge around drug gangs and where there are drug gangs, there are likely to be guns.
“Recent shootings in Birmingham highlight why it’s important there’s no let-up in our efforts to rid the region of weapons.”
It is worth noting that Stephenson was originally jailed for 24 years in 2006 for the murder of Ashia Walker in Edgbaston in 2002, but was acquitted after a retrial.
It is hoped that his sentencing in this case will set an example for criminals involved in drug and gun trade.