LONDON (Monitoring Desk): Seven British Pakistanis and a British Indian from Birmingham have been jailed for almost 140 years for smuggling heroin, worth up to £10m, from Pakistan to UK in February and July 2014.
The gang was jailed on Friday at the Birmingham Crown Court for a total of 139 years of imprisonment for conspiracy to import heroin after a detailed investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Ringleaders of the gang Ameran Zeb Khan, 38, Mohammed Ali, 36, and Sajid Hussain, 32, were sentenced to 22 years each and Hussain was sentenced to another 9 months for another offence involving fraud.
The NCA established that the men organised two container shipments from Lahore via Karachi to London’s Gateway Port in February and July 2014.
While the first shipment passed through, the second shipment was intercepted by Border Force (BF) officers who cut open the container’s cargo of industrial lathes to find 165kg of heroin concealed within them.
The investigators removed the drugs and reassembled the lathes and sent them on to their delivery destination at an industrial unit in Sandwell, West Midlands, where they were met by Omar Isa, 36 and Imran Arif, 35, who were working for the ringleaders. Isa was sentenced to 15.5 years in jail while Arif was imprisoned for 10 years.
In a statement the NCA said that Mohammed Ashaf Khan, 49, who handled logistics, has been imprisoned for 17.5 years while Rajesh Patel, 52, who used his business to provide paperwork for the shipments, was jailed for 15.5 years.
Zulfgar Munsaf, 38, who passed on the bosses’ instructions to others and was the only one in the group to plead guilty to avoid a trial, was given 14 years.
Paul Risby, branch commander at the NCA, said: “This was a determined and capable criminal group. They had connections to heroin suppliers and used legitimate business paperwork to provide cover for their activity.”
“The Border Force search in July 2014 also prevented a really significant shipment of heroin being sold on our streets.”
“Strong partnerships between the NCA, Border Force, West Midlands police and the CPS were vital in bringing about this result.”