"the NCA spent several years bringing the entire crime group to account"
The final three members of the Birmingham-based ‘chicken run’ gang have been sentenced.
The organised crime group was responsible for importing millions of pounds worth of class A drugs into the UK hidden in large quantities of chicken.
Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered that shipments from the Netherlands containing heroin and cocaine were imported into the UK by the gang.
NCA investigators worked with Dutch police for over three years to dismantle the group.
Meat supplier Mohammed Shabir, aged 42, of Small Heath, as well as brothers Manjinder Singh Thakhar, aged 36, and Davinder Singh Thakhar, aged 42, both of Smethwick, previously pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group.
The men were involved in a criminal enterprise led by Wasim Hussain, aged 34, and Nazarat Hussain, aged 36.
They set up a series of front companies which were involved in the importation of chicken from the Netherlands.
On three occasions, heroin and cocaine worth around £5 million were seized. They were found concealed in chicken shipments.
NCA investigators later identified a further 16 importations, which they suspect contained drugs. This would have increased the overall street value to approximately £12 million.
It was revealed that Shabir’s meat business had been used to receive one of the ‘chicken run’ gang’s shipments. The Thakhar brothers transported the importations, often moving raw chicken in unrefrigerated vehicles.
Colin Williams, NCA branch operations manager, said:
“The crime group that Shabir and the Singh Thakhar brothers were part of operated in numerous ways that bring harm to the UK.
“They used front companies to appear to be legitimate goods importers, they had links with criminals abroad, and the ringleaders were involved in conspiring to supply firearms.
“Working with Dutch partners, the NCA spent several years bringing the entire crime group to account, dismantling their operation from top to bottom, and preventing them from fuelling violence and exploitation in the West Midlands and far beyond.”
On January 23, 2020, at Birmingham Crown Court, Shabir and the Thakhar brothers received two-year sentences, suspended for 18 months.
Wasim and Nazarat were jailed in November 2019, after being convicted of conspiring to import a class A drug and conspiring to supply a firearm.
Wasim was jailed for 14 years and four months. Nazarat was jailed for 29-and-a-half years.
Mr Williams previously told Birmingham Mail:
“As well as drugs, the gang also attempted to source firearms, presumably to be used to threaten others in support of their criminality.”
“The investigation has uncovered links to criminal networks in London and the Netherlands, and our partnership with the Dutch police was crucial.
“We worked our way through the group until we managed to reach the two men at the very top, Wasim Hussain and Nazarat Hussain.
“As we have shown in this case, the NCA will use the full range of its capabilities to comprehensively target and disrupt those involved in organised criminal activity.
“In total, more than 98 years of jail sentences have been handed out, and with these men behind bars communities in the West Midlands and beyond are safer.”