A man from Stafford, is one of four people jailed for a total of 50 years after cocaine worth of £600,000 pounds was seized.
It follows an investigation by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, (NWROCU) over 20kg of high purity cocaine was recovered.
Yasser Shah, ran an Organised Crime Group (OCG) based in Blackburn and Bolton.
The OCG was involved in running a drugs operation which included moving large quantities of cocaine up from the Midlands to throughout the North of England between March 2018 and May 2019.
Shah controlled a number of couriers who collected, transported and delivered the drugs on his behalf. The couriers then passed the drugs onto ‘distributors’ who sent the drugs down the supply chain until they eventually got to the ‘street dealers’ who would sell the drugs to cocaine users.
Despite taking steps to avoid police detection, the NWROCU investigation led to a series of arrests and drugs seizures.
On 13th December 2018, Bilal Ashraf was stopped by police on his way back from Coventry and was arrested in possession of 10kg kilograms of cocaine.
Then on 28th February 2019, Hassam Rasool was stopped by police on his way back from Telford and arrested in possession of 10kg of cocaine he had collected from Martin Lewis.
Finally, in May 2019, Gul Bahar and a second man (later acquitted) were arrested in Tesco car park in Halifax after a police search of their vehicle resulted in the seizure of 1kg of cocaine.
Yasser Shah was arrested later that day after being stopped by police in the local area and linked to the earlier offences.
Those sentenced were:
· Yasser SHAH, 31 of Thornbank, South Bolton (Head of OCG), – pleaded guilty at trial (17 years)
· Bilal ASHRAF, 30 of Whitewell Place, Blackburn (courier) – pleaded guilty at trial (13 years)
· Hassam RASOOL, 26 of Ryhl Avenue, Blackburn (courier) – pleaded guilty at trial (11 years)
· Martin LEWIS, 54 of Firbeck Gardens, Stafford (distributor) – pleaded guilty (9 years)
Gul BAHAR, 38 from Halifax (distributor) was convicted and will appear in court for sentencing at a later date.
Detective Inspector Scott Waddington, from NWROCUs investigations team, said: “Drug dealing causes significant harm in our communities. It’s one of the NWROCU’s biggest priorities and our teams are working tirelessly, alongside other law enforcement agencies, to target those involved in the illegal drugs trade, and bring them before the courts.”
“This is a great result today, and our streets are that bit safer with these drugs dealers off the streets.”
“If anybody has any information about potential drug dealing, I urge you to please to contact police on 101 and tell us what you know. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers and report what you know anonymously on 0800 555 111.”