"This was not small scale dealing."
Two men who were described as the “trusted lieutenants” of a drug gang boss have been jailed after they were caught transporting £25,000 worth of heroin across Leeds.
The pair are the latest defendants to be sentenced as part of a major police operation that was launched in 2019 to catch members of a Leeds-based drug dealing operation that “spanned the Pennines”.
Gang members regularly travelled to Blackpool to collect drugs before storing them at properties in Leeds.
Nine people have already been jailed for a total of more than 60 years over their involvement in the cocaine and heroin supply operation.
Leeham Stewart, previously described in court as “the chief executive officer” of the drug gang, is due to be sentenced in February 2022.
The prosecutor, Mark McKone said Stewart drove his Mercedes to a secluded car park in Kirkstall on March 18, 2019, and met with people who were in an Audi.
A man from the Audi briefly entered Stewart’s car.
Later that day, Stewart parked his car next to the Audi in Roundhay.
A Toyota Yaris occupied by Shofiqul Islam and Arif Islam was parked close by.
The pair got out of the Yaris then approached the Audi.
Mr McKone said that a drugs exchange took place shortly after 8 pm, with Stewart being present but getting someone else to physically transfer the drugs.
At 8:15 pm, the Yaris was stopped by police in Chapeltown.
Inside Shofiqul’s bag was a block of 496g of heroin of 62% purity with a value of £24,800.
Shofiqul also had a second package containing 27.3g of heroin at 56% purity, valued at £1,365.
Analysis showed significant phone contact between Stewart and Shofiqul both just before and after the drugs handover.
Shofiqul and Arif both pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply.
Arif was previously jailed for supplying heroin.
In mitigation for Shofiqul, Imran Khan, said his client has no previous convictions and had been acting as a courier at the time of the offence.
Phillip Mahoney, for Arif, said his client pleaded guilty to offence at an early stage and accepted he would be facing a further prison sentence.
Judge Robin Mairs said: “This was not small scale dealing.
“This was not a limited number of wraps supplied on the street to other addicts.
“This was part of a commercial and professional operation involving significant quantities of drugs at a high purity.”
“Both of you were involved.
“Anyone who is in a position of transporting high purity drugs is a trusted lieutenant in that organisation.
“You were trusted with a large quantity of high-value drugs”.
Shofiqul Islam, aged 28, of Potternewton Mount, was jailed for five years and five months.
Arif Islam, aged 24, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years and 10 months.