Two drug dealers have been jailed for 30 years after smuggling £40m-worth of heroin into the UK from Pakistan. Shafaqat Hussain and Sakander Riaz masterminded an operation that saw 40kgs of the class-A drug brought into the UK at ports across the country.
They tried hiding their illicit haul by disguising it among everyday items and even stashed a concealment in children's clothing. The pair, aged 39 and 34, used Hussain's contacts in Pakistan to build the network and used stooges in the UK co-ordinate, distributing the drugs once they arrived in the country.
Information obtained during that inquiry sparked a major covert policing operation which led to the interception of kilos of drugs at ports across the UK – with around the same quantity seized directly from the streets of Bordesley Green in Birmingham, having been smuggled in by the network. Enquiries then led officers from the Serious Organised Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency to the gang.
Four other men, aged between 23 and 54, were also guilty of conspiring to import heroin while another admitted his premises was used in connection with the trafficking.
All seven were rumbled by detectives in August 2012 when Riaz was arrested in connection with another matter. Information obtained during that inquiry sparked a major, covert policing operation. It led to the interception of kilos of drugs at ports across the UK, with around the same quantity seized directly from the streets of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, having been smuggled in by the network.
Enquiries then led officers from the Serious Organised Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency to the gang. With the court case over, detectives will now set about recouping some of the money illegally earned by the men through the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.
The act allows officers to seize assets – such as cars, watches and houses – which they believe have been bought with criminal cash. A senior judge will then decide if the items can be auctioned. The money raised from their sale is ploughed back into local crime-fighting initiatives.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Cape said: "The group's activities had not been straightforward. Their crimes spanned continents and our response required the deployment of sophisticated investigative techniques which we will not reveal to protect future operations. As a result of our hard work, drugs destined for the streets of the West Midlands and worth £4 million have been taken out of circulation and seven criminals put behind bars."