"Fazal became the head of the Rochdale crime group"
Drug network ‘kingpin’, Mohammed Fazal, aged 32, from Rochdale, along with other significant members of his gang have all been jailed for running a large-scale narcotics operation.
The drug trafficking racket headed by Fazal was in the process of supplying drugs in the North of England and the Midlands worth over £3 million.
Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Fazal was previously convicted and jailed for eight years in November 2013 for possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.
This was after he was arrested in April 2013 when neighbours reported a smell of marijuana coming from his flat he was associated to in Rochdale, where officers found £43,000 worth of cannabis plants and £50,000 worth of cocaine.
Heroin and cocaine worth up to £1m and a £500,000 cannabis factory was then uncovered at another property associated with Fazal.
However, Fazal was freed from Ranby Prison in Nottinghamshire in June 2017, after a parole board decision for ‘good behaviour’. Meaning he only served half of his sentence.
As soon as he was out, Fazal immediately set-up a new drug network by activating two encrypted mobile phones and connecting back up with his old underworld contacts.
He used the phones to create a drug network which covered Greater Manchester from Lancashire and Halifax, and down to Stoke in the Midlands.
From June 2017, he planned the movement of 13kg of cocaine and heroin worth up to £3m and used the phones to arrange drug deliveries, receipts and payments over 10 months.
To build the drug network he received help from a former cellmate and set-up a team of willing couriers and distributors of the drugs.
Fazal was using an industrial unit which was created as a ‘safehouse’ for the drugs.
Mohammed Fazal’s organised crime gang and another dealer in Halifax supplied cocaine and heroin between June 2017 and May 2018.
An 11-month police operation code-named Gamber, led by Greater Manchester Police’s serious and organised crime group unit, investigated the drugs plot using covert surveillance of the gang and monitoring Fazal’s phone records.
During raids of properties, police recovered 4.5kg of cocaine and 8.5kg of heroin plus £110,000 in cash.
Prosecutor Mr Alex Langhorn told the court:
“There were multiple amounts of heroin and cocaine moved around the North West and Midlands.”
“Fazal became the head of the Rochdale crime group and immediately after his release from custody he took on the operation.
“He used his contacts from previous times and also had contacts from another prisoner he was in jail with.
“He was directly overseeing the amount of drugs and it was recorded he made trips with other drug dealers to discuss the continued supply. He delivered two boxes of drugs himself to home addresses.”
After police raided his home, Fazal fled and was arrested by officers in Stranraer, south-west Scotland.
Police began to round up the gang in December 2017 after finding half a kilo of cocaine as well as heroin during a search of a house in Rochdale.
Another key distribution member of the gang, Tariq Hussain, aged 23, was caught after a quarter kilo of cocaine and £19,000 was discovered at his home in Rochdale.
The court was told that gang member Zain Ahmed, aged 24, was known as the “Halifax connection” and Raja Mobeen Khan, aged 27, was the “Stoke connection”.
Gang member, Hafiz Ullah, aged 34, was responsible for organising, collecting and transporting major quantities of heroin from Rochdale to Nelson in Lancashire. He was dubbed the “Lancashire connection”.
Joining him was “naive” gang member, Nasir Ali, aged 38, a taxi driver from Burnley. He was said to have had “little relevance” of the scale of the gang’s operation and acted only as a “courier”.
Other members of the gang were all caught with drugs and large amounts of cash.
Gang members were jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court on December 6, 2018.
Mohammed Fazal was jailed for 15 years after he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supplying heroin and cocaine.
Tariq Hussain was sentenced to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supplying heroin and cocaine.
Hafiz Ullah was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
Nasir Ali was given three years in prison after admitting to possession with intent to supply class A drugs and supply of heroin.
Zain Ahmed was jailed for seven years after he admitted to two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
Raja Mobeen Khan was given 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Mohammed Hoque, aged 21, was sentenced to seven years after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.
Mohammed Abu Khan, aged 27, was jailed for seven years and six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.
Aftar Khan, aged 30, was sentenced to eight years in jail after he pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.
Samirul Choudhury, aged 29, was given four years in jail after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
Ashraful Chowdhury, 22, from Rochdale, pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug with intent to supply and was sentenced to five years in prison
Adeel Faraz, aged 28, was given three years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.
Paul Keeting, aged 47, was jailed for three years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.
Simon Worrall, aged 33, was given five years and two months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two offences of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
Mudassar Khan, aged 31, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin and he will be sentenced on December 13, 2018.
The woman gang member, Aneesa Ahmed, aged 23, from Stoke-on-Trent, was jailed for 28 months after she pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a class A drug.
Seven other members of the drug network have already been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.
Speaking of Fazal and his gang after their jailing, Detective inspector Lee Griffin of the Greater Manchester Police serious and organised crime group stated:
“Just hours after his release on license, Fazal decided to continue a life of crime.”
“But despite his and his co-conspirators attempts to avoid detection, our officers were soon uncovering significant quantities of drugs and cash that led to his gang’s downfall.
“This was a wide-ranging and complex investigation, but thanks to the diligence and professionalism of our specialist officers we have managed to bring down an elaborate drugs conspiracy.
“Drugs blight communities and ruin lives.
“These prosecutions send a strong message that we will not tolerate criminals attempting to profit from illegality.”