“Untold harm and misery could have come"
Five men from Sheffield were jailed for a total of 52 years for their roles in moving a weapons cache, in what was described as a large-scale operation.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Mohammed Arsalan Hussain “used minions to take risks, stashing property in cars and regularly ditching burner phones in a large-scale operation”.
Judge David Dixon told Hussain: “Telephone evidence showed you were orchestrating everything and were in complete control.”
In 2019, officers recovered over £150,000 in cash from his operation, however, he tried to “flee like a coward and leave his employees to face the music”.
He went into hiding in a hotel but was arrested on a flight out of the UK.
Richard Thyne, prosecuting, explained how a police operation watched Mohammed Noor retrieve a bag from a Vauxhall Astra, parked on Belper Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield, at around 11 am on April 9, 2019.
Noor took the bag to his home and officers swooped.
The bag contained four semi-automatic pistols, a revolver and a submachine gun. Five of the weapons cache were attached to plastic bags containing ammunition.
In the upstairs bedroom, officers found 434g of crack cocaine, worth £43,000.
In the Vauxhall’s boot, they found 4kg of skunk cannabis, divided into more than 2,000 deal bags, worth £40,000.
Noor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer ammunition, handguns and a machine gun, and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.
Clare Ashcroft, defending, said Noor was involved at “a very late stage” and only used as a “last-minute conduit”.
Judge Dixon said Aqeeb Hussain was “too important to risk moving two kilos of the cocaine”. He has a history of supplying Class A and B drugs.
Hussain’s childhood friend, Sajid Fiaz was a “hard-working family man until he got mixed up in the business”.
Judge Dixon said Fiaz “stupidly denied” the charges but knew what he was doing.
Shazad Hassan was “influenced by his family and peer pressure”. He stored and moved 750g of cannabis.
Mohammed Arsalan Hussain, aged 31, was jailed for 27 and a half years.
Aqeeb Hussain, aged 26, was jailed for seven and a half years for his role.
Mohammed Noor, aged 35, received 10 and a half years in prison.
Sajid Fiaz, aged 35, was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Shazad Hassan, aged 23, was jailed for 15 months.
Judge Dixon said: “Untold harm and misery could have come if those weapons were used.
He added that drugs “are the fuel that feeds the rest of the criminality that besets this great city”.
The Star reported that he also praised a combination of “solid old-fashioned policing as well as more modern techniques” and paid particular tribute to analyst Jade Peacock.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard said: “This operation is a major victory in the fight against serious and organised crime in Yorkshire and beyond.
“Officers seized 20 guns – guns that cannot now be used to cause violence in the communities we serve.”
“A huge amount of illegal drugs were also recovered including 9kg of high purity cocaine and crack cocaine and 70kg of class B drugs.
“Illegal drugs cause untold misery in communities and I am delighted we have taken such a large amount out of circulation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the officers from the ROCU, South Yorkshire Police and the NCA for their painstaking partnership work in bringing these criminals to justice and making the streets of Yorkshire safer.
“A lot of the work to bring these criminals to justice was carried out behind the scenes – so whilst people may not have known our officers were carrying out this vital work – they were.”