£1.8 million drugs plot gang jailed for total of 30 years

£1.8 million drugs plot gang jailed for total of 30 years

Tahir Ali

Sheeraz Khan

Saif Al-Meskry

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

Three Bradford men, who were part of a major drugs conspiracy involving £1.8 million of heroin and cocaine, have been jailed for a total of 30 years.

The huge haul of class A drugs was discovered in an industrial unit at Lessarna Court, Bowling Back Lane, West Bowling, after the alarm was raised by two officers on routine burglary patrol.

Yesterday Sheeraz Khan, 33, of Garibaldi Street, Thornbury; and Tahir Ali, 28, of Thornton Lane, Little Horton, were both jailed for 11 years. Saif Al-Meskry, 22, of Thornton Lane, Little Horton, was given a nine and a half year prison sentence.

All three had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Sentencing them at Bradford Crown Court, Judge Peter Benson said an experienced police officer assessing the significance of the operation described it as one of the largest he had seen.

Judge Benson told the defendants: “This was an extremely sophisticated operation, operating for some time and capable of producing vast profits, as well as flooding the streets of Bradford with heroin and crack cocaine.”

The judge said the estimated street value of the drugs seized from the unit was £1.8m. A dealer list, with Ali’s thumb print on it, showed trading in substantial quantities of drugs, in excess of £420,000 in one month alone. “That demonstrates the scale of this operation in which you were all involved.”

Another man, Abbas Khan, had fled after the police raided the unit and is now thought to be in Pakistan.

Judge Benson said it was clear Abbas Khan was likely to have played a leading role, but the defendants all played their part.

Prosecutor David Dixon said the conspiracy lasted at least eight months in 2012.

In March of that year officers went to Al-Meskry’s then address, at Acton House, Little Germany. It was being used as a drugs storage unit and heroin and cocaine valued at £15,000 was found.

The following November police discovered the industrial unit at Lessarna Court. Voices were heard but those inside escaped through a hole in the roof. Among the drugs seized by police was 30 kilograms of heroin.

The court heard the rented unit was a production plant for crack cocaine and a warehouse for the distribution of large quantities of heroin.

Mr Dixon said: “This was a commercial and carefully run drugs factory guaranteeing substantial financial rewards. It was a substantial and sustained conspiracy.”

In mitigation, it was said that Ali was a hardworking young man of good character; Khan had derived no share of the money; and Al-Meskry’s role was as a “trusted foot soldier”.

After the case, Detective Inspector Jon Key, of West Yorkshire Police's Organised Crime Unit, said: “Ali, Khan and Al-Meskry were involved in the running of a sophisticated drugs distribution unit, which was found to contain Class A drugs with a street value of almost £2m.

“These drugs were also found to be up to four times the normal strength of drug purities in West Yorkshire, which would have enabled these men to produce even larger quantities of drugs.

“This was clearly a significant seizure.”

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