Police say streets are safer as five jailed

Bradford drugs gang given 24 years in jail

Rafiq Khan

Hamid Shah

Amir Mushtaq

Haris Saleem

Kauser Uddin

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

Five men who organised a sophisticated conspiracy to supply dangerous drugs on the streets of Bradford have been locked up for a total of 24 years.

The gang was responsible for about 26,000 transactions – 200 deals a day – with a high profit margin, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Judge Colin Burn, sentencing the five Bradford men yesterday, said none of them was the central character in the conspiracy, but without the involvement of all of them it could not have operated.

“You all agreed to play a significant role,” the judge told them.

After yesterday’s hearing a detective in the case said: “They had a complete lack of respect for their own neighbourhood. They wrongly thought that they were untouchable.”

The five defendants had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.

Rafiq Khan, 21, of Barlow Street, Barkerend, Bradford, was jailed for five years, with a further 15 months imprisonment for separate offences of drug dealing while on bail.

Hamid Shah, 21, of Newlands Place, Undercliffe, Bradford, was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment, with another 15 months for a second drugs conspiracy committed in Burnley.

Amir Mushtaq, 20, of Seaton Street, Barkerend, and Haris Saleem, 22, of Cockroft Grove, Barkerend, were both sentenced to four years and nine months.

Kauser Uddin, 19, of Barlow Street, Barkerend, was sent to youth custody for two and a half years, to run consecutively with a four-year sentence he is serving for kidnap.

Prosecutor Tim Capstick said the men were involved in a conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs – heroin, cocaine and cannabis – over 18 months between April 2010 and September 2011. They, and others, used a mobile as a “dealer phone.”

Mr Capstick said the five defendants, living in close proximity, worked together to operate a drugs phone line and used people on the street to supply users. In some cases they sold drugs on the street themselves.

Judge Burn said it was a well organised conspiracy, involving dangerous and addictive drugs, and there must be substantial sentences for those involved.

Khan’s barrister, Richard Wright, said the offences were a “depressing and miserable cocktail brought about by young men who had little employment opportunity, little aspiration and little to look up to in the way of role models”.

Michael Collins, for Saleem, said his client had been a law student with a bright future until he fell into financial difficulty.

After the case Detective Inspector Neil Benstead, of West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Quartz Team, said: “The sentences conclude a two-year detailed investigation into a group of well organised local men who dealt drugs extensively in and around the Barkerend area of the city. There was a clear structure to their criminal drug dealing.

“The community have supported the work of the police and provided crucial intelligence. The convictions demonstrate our commitment to tackle organised drug dealing and remove negative role models from the community.”

Inspector Andy Gallant, of the Bowling, Barkerend and Bradford Moor Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The Neighbourhood Policing Team has it own dedicated drugs team, specifically working to tackle local issues and is supported by the district-wide Quartz Team. Through our continuing operations, we are hitting criminals head on, ensuring that the people of Barkerend remain safe.

“If you have any suspicions about drug dealing in your area, contact the police on 0845 6060606, or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.”

* Two men, involved in the second conspiracy with Shah, were jailed. Siahosh Khan, 32, of Bishop Street, Nelson, Lancashire, was given a six-year sentence. Asif Akhtar, 21, of Newlands Place, Undercliffe, was jailed for two years.

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