"Drug dealing causes significant harm"
Four members of a drugs gang have been jailed for a total of 50 years. It was heard they shipped large quantities of “high purity” cocaine to the north of England from the Midlands.
Yasser Shah, aged 31, ran the operation, using couriers and distributors to move the class A drugs across the country.
The couriers passed the drugs onto distributors who sent the drugs down the supply chain until they eventually got to the street dealers who would sell the drugs to cocaine users.
Bradford Crown Court heard that the drugs gang operated between March 2018 and May 2019 before they were caught.
An investigation by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit eventually led to the seizure of 20kg of high purity cocaine with a street value of over £600,000.
Courier Bilal Ashraf, aged 30, was the first to be caught when he was stopped by police on his way back from Coventry on December 13, 2018.
Officers found him in possession of 10 kg of cocaine and he was subsequently arrested.
On February 28, 2019, fellow courier Hassam Rasool, aged 26 was stopped by police on his way back from Telford. He was arrested in possession of 10 kg of cocaine he had collected from distributor Martin Lewis, aged 54.
In May 2019, Gul Bahar, aged 38, and a second man were arrested in a Tesco car park in Halifax after police found one kilogram of cocaine in their vehicle. The second man was later cleared.
Shah was arrested later that day.
Shah pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A-controlled drugs.
Ashraf, of Blackburn, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A-controlled drugs.
Rasool, of Blackburn, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A-controlled drugs.
Lewis, of Stafford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A-controlled drugs.
Detective Inspector Scott Waddington said: “Drug dealing causes significant harm in our communities.
“It’s one of our biggest priorities and our teams are working tirelessly, alongside other law enforcement agencies, to target those involved in the illegal drugs trade, and bring them before the courts.
“This is a great result, and our streets are that bit safer with these drugs dealers off the streets.”
On February 11, 2020, Shah was jailed for 17 years. Ashraf received 13 years in prison.
Rasool was sentenced to 11 years in prison while Lewis was jailed for nine years.
Manchester Evening News reported that Bahar was convicted and will appear in court for sentencing at a later date.