Drug gang members
‘Kingpin’ back to illegal ways hours after his release
trate a drugs plot stretching through Greater Manchester from Lancashire and Halifax down to Stoke, a court heard.
The phones were used to organise drug deliveries, receipts and payments over 10 months from June 2017, Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court was told.
Fazal, 32, of Oswald Street, Rochdale, is now back behind bars after a major police operation.
Detectives from GMP’s serious and organised crime group seized 13 kilos of drugs – cocaine and heroin – and more than £110,000 in cash after raids under Operation Gamber.
Fazal and seven other members of his group have now been jailed for a collective total of more than 65 years.
Based in Rochdale, the gang transported cocaine to and from Halifax, heroin to Burnley and cocaine down to Stoke.
Judge Stuart Driver QC, the sentencing judge, praised GMP for its investigation and said Fazal ‘directed, bought and sold on a commercial scale’.
Jailing him for 15 years, he said: “It is shocking that you became active within hours of your release from custody from a drug trafficking offence, activating mobile phones that were used in the conspiracy.”
Detective Inspector Lee Griffin said Fazal ‘continued his life of crime’ immediately.
“But despite his and his co-conspirators’ attempts to avoid detection, our officers were soon uncovering significant quantities of drugs and cash that led to his gang’s downfall,” he said.
“This was a wide-ranging and complex investigation, but thanks to the diligence and professionalism of our specialist officers we have managed to bring down an elaborate drugs conspiracy.”
Fazal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.
Alex Langhorn, prosecuting, said the organised crime group he led operated between June 2017 and May this year.
‘Multi-kilogram amounts’ of cocaine and heroin were distributed throughout the North West and down to the Midlands, he said.
Fazal fled after his home was raided, but he was arrested in Stranraer, south west Scotland, the court was told.
Hafiz Ullah – an ‘organiser and distributor’ – was described as the ‘Lancashire connection’.
Zain Ahmed, also a ‘distributor’, was the ‘Halifax connection’ and Raja Mobeen Khan was the ‘Stoke connection’, the court heard.
Ullah, 34, of Manchester Road, Nelson, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
Ahmed, 24, of Newstead Terrace, Halifax, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to seven years, three months.
Mobeen Khan, 27, of Trafalgar Street, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
Tariq Hussain, 23, of Hector Avenue, Rochdale, a ‘distributor’ who operated under Fazal, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to eight years. A quarter kilo of cocaine and £19,000 was seized from his home.
Mohammed Abu Khan, 27, of Eclipse Close, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to seven years, six months.
Mohammed Hoque, 21, of Stanneybrook Close, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced to seven years.
Nasir Ali, 38, of Railway Street, Burnley, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs with intent to supply and supplying drugs. Ali, a taxi driver, was said to have had ‘little relevance’ of the scale of the gang’s operation.
Described as a ‘courier’ and ‘naive’, the court heard he moved heroin from Rochdale to Burnley. He was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Seven others connected to the operation have already been sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars.
Detective Inspector Griffin added: “Drugs blight communities and ruin lives. These prosecutions send a strong message that we will not tolerate criminals attempting to profit from illegality.” Hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be held at a later date.
‘Drugs blight communities and ruin lives. These prosecutions send a strong message that we will not tolerate criminals attempting to profit from illegality’
●●Mohammed Fazal was the ‘kingpin’