Four members of a flashy drugs gang have been jailed for almost 50 years after they were caught smuggling £275,000 worth of heroin inside boxes of dog treats and washing powder. One crook took a picture of himself wearing a balaclava on his last deal and joked: "For what I'm about to do I could get like 35!" Another was snapped posing on a golden throne.
Mohammed Jabbar, Jeremy Curran, Mohammed Rafique and Jonathan Clorley were sentenced to 49 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin at Manchester Crown Court on 4 September.
Officers rounded up the gang after they found 2.5kg of heroin stashed in two boxes of dog treats and a washing powder box in a car carrying Jabbar, Rafique and Clorley.
The Manchester gang's huge operation began to unravel when officers found one of their customers, who had travelled to Cheetham Hill from Northampton, with a quarter of a kilo of cocaine on 25 July 2016.
It prompted a detailed police investigation which established how Jabbar, 28, and Rafique, 40, had supplied the drugs. It led officers to uncover the scale of the racket, other members of their gang and a picture of an arrogant Jabbar sitting on a gold throne.
They established that the duo met their Glasgow contact, Curran, 34, in Cheetham Hill on 16 August 2016. The next day police swooped as Jabbar, Rafique and a fourth member of the gang, Clorley, 25, drove their drugs haul north from Manchester towards Glasgow.
Besides the drugs in the car police were stunned to discover the gang had been using military encrypted mobile phones. Messages sent between the phones revealed the scale and reach of their operation - as well as their shameless confidence.
These messages revealed that Jabbar had spoken with a colleague in the Middle East, detailing the supply of heroin to Curran and boasting about the £150,000 worth of drugs in Jabbar's possession. Officers found a picture of Curran, wearing a balaclava, in which he appeared to joke about the scam and a possible sentence if he was caught.
Under his picture he wrote: "For what I'm about to do I could get like 35! Pray to God I get away!" In another picture seized by police, a suited Jabbar is seen smiling as he sits on a throne, wearing sunglasses and smiling.
After searching Clorley's address, police told the court that they discovered a "significant amount of powdered caffeine" which is used to add weight to supplies of pure drugs.
Jabbar, from Oldham, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Curran, from Glasgow, was handed a 14-and-a-half year prison sentence. Rafique, from Manchester, was jailed for 12 years. Clorley, from Stockport, was handed a seven-year prison sentence.
After the hearing, Inspector Lee Griffin, of GMP's Serious Crime Division, said: "After concealing a large amount of potent and dangerous drugs in household items, I can only imagine the tragedy that could have occurred if these boxes had fallen into the wrong hands.
"Although these men went to great lengths to cover up their illicit dealings, it was their own arrogance which led to the downfall of their carefully laid plans.