"we have systematically dismantled an organised crime group"
The two ringleaders of a UK gang have been jailed for a combined sentence of almost 44 years after they smuggled £5 million worth of Class A drugs into the country.
The Birmingham-based crime group were led by Wasim Hussain and Nazarat Hussain. They set up a number of front companies, which were involved in the importation of chicken from the Netherlands.
On three occasions, heroin and cocaine worth approximately £5 million were seized. They were found to be concealed in chicken shipments.
However, NCA investigators later identified another sixteen shipments, which they believe contained drugs.
The importations began in June 2016 and continued into 2017.
After the first two importations were seized, the gang set up a new company in an attempt to evade detection, using a new name to continue with their drug smuggling operation.
They would use legitimate shipping companies to move loads from Rotterdam to distribution hubs where members of the group would collect them.
Nazarat set up the shipments. He made regular trips over to the Netherlands to meet Dutch suppliers.
However, after the two chicken shipments were intercepted, the UK gang changed their approach.
In this case, two corrupt baggage handlers were used to collect three kilograms of high-purity cocaine from a flight, which had landed at Heathrow from Brazil.
However, the gang were being monitored by the NCA.
Officers made arrests when one of the airport workers met taxi driver Adnan Ahmed Malik outside the airport. Inside the taxi was a rucksack containing three kilograms of high-purity cocaine.
Leading up to the meeting, Wasim and Nazarat were in contact with Malik. They had tried calling him after his arrest.
After the drug smuggling route had been busted, the Hussains went back to their chicken method.
They recruited meat supplier worker Mohammed Shabir to help.
In 2017, another shipment was dispatched from the Netherlands, but the drugs were recovered by Dutch police, who were working with the NCA.
Upon the shipment’s arrival into Birmingham without the drugs, the UK gang knew they had been caught.
In a panic, Wasim called his main Dutch criminal contact, telling him “throw your phone, throw everything, throw the SIM away.”
NCA officers arrested Wasim and Shabir shortly after. At the time, Nazarat was in the Netherlands but he was arrested by Dutch police and extradited back to the UK.
NCA Branch Operations Manager Colin Williams said:
“Throughout the course of this investigation, which has gone on for more than three years, we have systematically dismantled an organised crime group that was involved in the importation and distribution of class A drugs across the West Midlands.
“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.
Nazarat pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to import Class A drugs.
Brothers Manjinder Singh Thakhar and Davinder Singh Thakhar, along with Mohammed Shabir all pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group.
At Birmingham Crown Court, Wasim was found guilty of conspiring to import a Class A drug.
Khaiyam Hussain was found not guilty of participating in an organised crime group.
After the trial, it was revealed that Nazarat was convicted of conspiring to supply a firearm following a trial in January 2019. Three other men were previously convicted in connection with the offence.
Nazarat Hussain was jailed for 29-and-a-half years in prison. Wasim Hussain was jailed for 14 years and four months.
Manjinder Singh Thakhar, Davinder Singh Thakhar and Mohammed Shabir will be sentenced on January 23, 2020.
Mr Williams added: “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.”