"We don't want your money - we want to control you."
Two brothers from Oldham have each been jailed for more than seven years for using women as “slaves” to run their £1,000-a-day drug trafficking racket.
Sulman Khan, aged 26, and brother Zafran, aged 24, had been released from prison on licence when they resumed their drug dealing activities.
Sulman was in charge of the packing of the drugs while Zafran usually collected the drugs from his brother for onward supply on the streets.
Sulman recruited a 19-year-old and 18-year-old to help with the packaging, drive him around and alert police presence. They would also deliver drug money and bags for drugs.
Eventually, the brothers moved their operation into the home of a woman known as Shelley, who lived in Syke near Rochdale. It was a criminal process known as ‘Cuckoo-ing’.
Jon Close, prosecuting, said the brothers exploited Shelley’s mental health issues and drug misuse to ply her with free cocaine.
The brothers then “systematically took over her address” and even obtained their own keys for the house.
Mr Close said: “Sulman brought crack cocaine to her home, would store drugs paraphernalia in her wardrobe and cook and bag up drugs in her kitchen.
“Once the drugs were bagged up, Zafran would collect them.
“Both brothers would let themselves into Shelley’s home and do this three or four times a week with the amount of drugs being prepared increasing in size as time went on.”
Two other women including Sulman’s girlfriend were also forced to help produce and pack drugs for the gang.
Shelley attempted to get rid of the brothers by offering them money and her bank card. However, they refused and said:
“We don’t want your money – we want to control you.”
They also threatened to damage her home, harm her dogs and made threats towards her father and daughter.
The Khans were arrested in June 2019 following a raid on their homes.
Police recovered a mobile phone from Sulman’s girlfriend, Dana Pickering-Raczycki, then 19, and found 2,000 messages between the pair.
On numerous occasions, she said she did not want “anything to do with his dirty money” but he called her “paranoid” and a “grass”. Sulman also boasted he had access to a machine gun.
The brothers had run a drugs hotline in Rochdale which had a daily average of 223 calls or text messages over one eight-day period.
Both Sulman and Zafran had been on licence having been released from prison in early 2019 over previous jail terms for drug dealing.
At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, the brothers admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Judge John Potter told them: “Cuckooing required the remorseless exploitation of Shelley who had mental health difficulties and who was a drug user.
“You told her she need not pay for those drugs providing she allow you to control and organise your drug dealing activities from her address.
“You thus exerted control over her life, exploiting her and her home for your own selfish gain.”
“Crack cocaine was brought to the house three to four times a week whilst scales bags and other items were stored at the property and the drugs would be bagged up in the kitchen ready for delivery.
“Control was maintained over Shelley by various means including the acquisition of her bank card, threats being made to harm her and her pets, damage to her property and implied threats to the safety of her extended family.
“This was a sophisticated drug dealing operation which was no doubt designed to generated very significant profits running into many thousands of pounds.
“I accept there is no evidence as to lifestyle offending however both of you must have had expectation of substantial financial gain.
“This trade is one in which both of you are most familiar. You are professional drug dealers peddling harmful substances in your community which results in misery and chaos not only for those who use drugs but also for those from whom they steal to buy drugs.
“Your actions, gentlemen, are inspired by greed, selfishness and a ruthless willingness to exploit others.”
The brothers were each jailed for seven and a half years.
Pickering-Raczycki admitted participating in a criminal enterprise and was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
The Daily Mail reported that she was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and abide by a 9 pm to 7 am curfew.