8:00am Saturday 25th May 2013
By Steve Wright
A gang involved in a conspiracy to distribute drugs across West Yorkshire has been given jail sentences totalling more than 40 years.
Half a kilogram of high purity cocaine and £26,000 in cash was seized from a car stopped in Bradford.
Two of the defendants, Xhevahir Manovi and Arzan Pepaj, were in the car when it was stopped, in October 2011, and the packages of drugs found.
Yesterday, nine men and two women were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court at the end of Operation Ingleton, which investigated the drugs conspiracy.
Richard Armstrong, 41, of Northampton, was jailed for 11 years, and Anver Valli, 38, of Savile Town, Dewsbury, was given a 12-year jail sentence.
The investigation by officers from West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division uncovered a series of events, with defendants sourcing illegal drugs for distribution across West Yorkshire.
During the operation, cars were stopped in Bradford and South Yorkshire, with cocaine found, along with cash tainted by heroin and cannabis.
In November, 2011, a warrant was executed at the Batley address of Mohammed Rayaz. Present were Valli, Imran Ravat and Shazad Mahroof, who is from Bradford. More than 250 grams of high purity cocaine, 740 grams of phenacetin, a known cutting agent, and 176 grams of freshly-made crack cocaine, and the equipment and materials for producing crack cocaine, were seized. A lock-up belonging to Ravat in Savile Town was searched and police found a further 3.435 kilos of phenacetin and various documents.
In February 2012, the defendants were arrested. Armstrong was held at Heathrow Airport after returning from South America. The nine men and two women were later charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Simeon Smyle, 32, of Leicester, was jailed for nine years; Imran Tai, 33, of Healey, Batley, and Pepaj, 28, of Leicester, were jailed for four years; Ravat, 27, of Healey, Batley, was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment; Rayaz, 28, of Batley Carr, was jailed for two years; and Shazhad Mahroof, 29, of Bridgwater Road, Manningham, Bradford; Manovi, 30, of Leicester; Deborah Rushton, 43, of Worksop, Nottinghamshire; and Kimberley Rushton, 20, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, were each given 18-month suspended sentences.
Detective Inspector Jonathan Key said: “The distribution of illegal drugs by organised criminals is something that has a real negative impact on the towns and cities in our county; and we hope that the results of this case will serve as a message to others who are involved.”
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