JUST £1

Drugdeal­er­swhosold‘mis­ery’on­thestreetswhile driv­inglux­u­rycar­shave­beenordered­to­pay...

Sunderland Echo - - Front page - By Echo Re­porter copy­desk.north­east@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @sun­der­lan­de­cho

Two drug deal­ers who sold “mis­ery” on the streets while driv­ing around in lux­ury cars have been or­dered to hand over just £1 each from their ill-got­ten gains – and been given a month to save it up.

Shafiq Iqbal, who drove a Mercedes, and Mur­salin Ali, a univer­sity grad­u­ate who drove a BMW X5, were given their first-ever jail terms ear­lier this year for sup­ply­ing nar­cotics to a Northum­bria Po­lice of­fi­cer, who dis­guised her­self as an ad­dict called “Sarah”.

The two young deal­ers were caught as part of a wider op­er­a­tion, which took place over the course of seven months, aim­ing to stamp out the num­ber of drug deal­ers in Sun­der­land.

Af­ter the prison sen­tences were im­posed, pros­e­cu­tors per­sued the pair un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act, to seize any as­sets they have.

The case has now been back at New­cas­tle Crown Court, where both men have been or­dered to pay just one pound each.

Pros­e­cu­tor Rachel Masters told the court Ali pock­eted £360 profit through his of­fend­ing and Iqbal made £280.

But Miss Masters said each man has just £1 in as­sets which can be seized.

Mr Recorder Si­mon Gold­berg said the men must hand over the cash within a month or face fur­ther time be­hind bars.

The judge said: “They have 28 days to pay, on both or­ders, and the de­fault pe­riod is 14 days.”

The court heard the men’s of­fend­ing took place be­tween Oc­to­ber 3, 2016 and April 3, 2017.

Pros­e­cu­tor Paul Row­land told the last hear­ing: “The de­fen­dants came to the at­ten­tion of the po­lice at the lat­ter part of the op­er­a­tion.

“The test pur­chase of­fi­cer by the name of ‘Sarah’ was based in the Sun­der­land area.”

Mr Row­land said the of­fi­cer made contact with Iqbal af­ter be­ing given his num­ber by “Baz from Hen­don” – who turned out to be co-de­fen­dant Ali.

On Fe­bru­ary 15, 2017, the of­fi­cer ar­ranged to meet Iqbal on Tun­stall Ter­race, where she paid £40 for 337mg of co­caine.

The pair met a fur­ther five times, un­til Iqbal sug­gested that he could get some methadone, also known as M-CAT.

Mr Row­land added: “Ali then be­came in­volved. He was in the pas­sen­ger seat of Iqbal’s Mercedes mo­tor ve­hi­cle.

“Ali said he was in the po­si­tion to sup­ply M-CAT or source it on her be­half.

“They were mo­ti­vated by fi­nan­cial gain.”

On March 13, the of­fi­cer then met with Ali who sup­plied her with a grip seal bag con­tain­ing 6.9g of M-CAT for £120.

She met with Ali two more times un­til he and his co-ac­cused were ar­rested in April.

Iqbal, 25, ad­mit­ted six counts of sup­ply­ing a Class A drug and 26-year-old Ali pleaded guilty to three counts of sup­ply­ing a Class B drug.

An­drew Rut­ter, de­fend­ing Iqbal, told the ear­lier hear­ing: “He is a young man from a de­vout fam­ily, who in 2016 be­came be­dev­illed by de­pres­sion.

“He was in­tro­duced to co­caine by a friend to alleviate his symp­toms of de­pres­sion.”

Mr Rut­ter ex­plained that the restau­rant man­ager very quickly be­came ad­dicted to the drug and racked up debts to his dealer.

He was then told that his only way to re­lieve the debt would be to sell the drugs on the streets as pay­back.

He added: “His fam­ily are sup­port­ive, but they are dis­mayed that their son could be in­volved.”

Vic Laf­fey, de­fend­ing Ali, said that his client had also been in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion af­ter be­com­ing ad­dicted to M-Cat.

He said: “It was some­thing he used so­cially, but be­came ad­dicted in a very short pe­riod of time.

“In the last year he has grad­u­ated from Sun­der­land Univer­sity and has got mar­ried. He is in em­ploy­ment.”

Iqbal, of Thorn­hill Cres­cent, Sun­der­land, was jailed for three years, and Ali, of North­cote Av­enue, Sun­der­land, for seven months.

Recorder David Gordon told them: “The drugs on our streets bring mis­ery and degra­da­tion to young peo­ple.”

“The drugs on our streets bring mis­ery and degra­da­tion” DAVID GORDON

Shafiq Iqbal.

Mur­salin Ali.

Shafiq Iqbal, left, and Mur­salin Ali.

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