Two men have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years for masterminding an international heroin smuggling operation from Pakistan.
Ringleader Tahir Mahmood controlled a gang spread over two continents from his home in Stourbridge. After being watched and followed by police in Spain and the UK, he was arrested in raids last year, along with his right hand man Anwar Bashir from Bradford.
The men were directly connected to around 46 kilograms of heroin seized, with a further 49 kilos found as part of the wider operation. In total the drugs had an estimated street value of around £9.5 million. Chris Halpin reports.
Today two key players of an international drug smuggling operation were sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars. Tahir Mahmood from Stourbridge, and Anwar Bashir from Bradford, controlled a group of men to smuggle heroin to the value of £9.5m into the UK from Pakistan.
Using couriers or drug 'mules', the heroin was hidden on flights passing through the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany, Austria and finally the UK. Watch the video above to find out exactly how the gang planned to flood Britain's streets with heroin.
The National Crime Agency have said an international drugs gang led by a man from Stourbridge could have brought 'misery, harm and violence' to Birmingham.
Tahir Mahmood was jailed today for a variety of offences into importation of significant quantities of heroin into Europe and the UK after previously pleading guilty.
We proved Mahmood and Bashir were linked to seizures totalling 46 kilos but I believe the network dismantled could have been responsible for many more importations – bringing misery, harm and violence to communities in Birmingham, Bradford and other cities.
“Tackling the supply of drugs on a global level and protecting our borders are priorities for the NCA and its partners. We targeted the couriers one by one and obtained the evidence that led to the downfall of these two men. They are now behind bars where they belong.”
This is footage of Tahir Mahmood from Stourbridge meeting a courier at a UK airport who was wearing specially adapted clothing full of heroin.
Tahir Mahmood was the ringleader of the multi-million pound international heroin smuggling gang, he has been sentenced to 16 years in prison today.
His right-hand man, 43-year-old Anwar Bashir from Bradford, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty by a jury after a trial.
A man from Stourbridge who controlled a multi-million pound international heroin smuggling gang has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Tahir Mahmood was jailed for a variety of offences into importation of significant quantities of heroin into Europe and UK after previously pleading guilty.
A man from Stourbridge who controlled a multi-million pound international heroin smuggling gang is due to be sentenced later.Read the full story ›
Around £10,000 of what are believed to be class A drugs have been seized from a house in Leicester following a police raid.
A 21-year-old man has been arrested and is in police custody.
We remain committed to acting upon information from the public concerning drug use and supply in our community. Today's warrant has stopped a large amount of drugs entering out streets. If people have concerns about drugs misuse in their area I would urge them to please get in touch."
West Midlands Police say they have cracked the drugs ring headed by Black Country's notorious criminal John Anslow.
Anslow was cleared of the murder of a Staffordshire man at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday.
However the case allowed police to uncover details of his role overseeing cocaine and cannabis supply across the country.
Anslow, who was once Britain's most wanted man, was discovered when police followed a local drug dealer to an address where evidence linked back to Anslow.
He was found by police hiding out with 8 grams of cocaine in a Bewdley caravan park.
Investigating officer Mike Greenland from West Midlands Police said:
John Anslow headed up an organisation that distributed drugs in the West Midlands and other parts of the United Kingdom. It was an extensive, organised crime gang that’s also seen his associates receive lengthy custodial sentences.
22-year-old David Mitchell has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for drug related offences.
He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and cannabis at Birmingham Crown Court.
It comes after police executed a drugs warrant in Kingstanding Road at the start of the year. Mitchell was found in a caravan on the driveway of the property with a large quantity of crack cocaine.
PC Luke Mincher from Birmingham North Police said:
"The drugs haul was estimated to have a total street value of almost £10,000. We are pleased with the court’s sentencing and hope that anyone with information about drug dealing will have the confidence to contact us, so that we can take action."
In terms of value, this is one of the biggest investigations West Mercia Police has ever conducted into the illegal drugs trade.
While we have seized approximately £10million worth of Class A and B drugs, we think it is only the tip of an iceberg. We believe the conspiracy has been responsible for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of drugs being smuggled into the UK.
We also have evidence that shows these drugs have been sold from the West Midlands region to organised criminal groups nationally who are dealing drugs across the country.