Heroin dealers jailed

Date published: 25 May 2012

Two men from Rochdale are among six people who have been handed prison terms of more than 30 years for their roles in a heroin ring. Mohammed Hanif, 39, of Reservoir Street admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and was sentenced to five years and five months imprisonment. Raja Miah, 27, of Gower Street admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and was sentenced to four years and one month imprisonment.

The investigation into the gang's activities started last summer and in September 2011 a car was stopped on the M5 motorway, travelling north between junctions 10 and 9.

Within the car were two large bags of cash, with abnormally large deposits of heroin on the notes.

Later that month, in Rochdale, two men, Habibul Islam and Raja Miah, were seen with Mohammed Hanif involved in exchanging drugs, and 11.2kg of heroin was recovered.

Covert investigations were able to establish links between all the gang members and forensic evidence also linked a man from Oldham, Stephan Caldwell, to the drugs.

While 11.2kg of heroin were seized, the amount the gang pleaded guilty to supplying 1.3kg of the drug.

The offenders all admitted their part in the ring during previous court appearances, and were sentenced today at Preston Crown Court.

Drugs seized during the investigation had a potential street value of more than £1 million.

Detective Inspector Neil Carpenter, of Gloucestershire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "This investigation started back in September last year and, working with our colleagues in SOCA, we have disrupted a significant heroin supply ring.

"This operation targeted both those bringing drugs into the county, and those then supplying it on to the streets, so we tackled the supply chain from top to bottom. A number of other people are already serving prison sentences or are awaiting court appearances for their involvement in this heroin gang.

"It's a great example of cross border and cross agency cooperation, and demonstrates the capability of the Constabulary to combat major crime both alone and with other agencies.

"We're pleased the six offenders are now getting their just desserts and that we've taken a substantial amount of heroin, which was destined for sale on the UK's streets, out of circulation."

Matt Burton, SOCA's North West Head of Investigations, said: "Partnerships at a local and national level are vital if we are to tackle the drug chain from one end to the other and protect the public. In this case the amount of heroin seized - enough for over 100,000 street deals - would have caused misery for families and communities. These criminals are not only behind bars where they belong; they have been denied substantial profits."

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