'Puppet master' and two accomplices jailed for supplying vast amount of drugs in Gloucester

Left to right: Harvey Crofts, Mizanur Rahman and Patrick Nikiel. Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Three men who supplied drug dealers in Gloucester with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of cocaine have been jailed for a total of nearly 20 years.

Mizanur Rahman, 31, Harvey Crofts, 20, and Patrick Nikiel, 20, were sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on Wednesday 27 September. 

The court heard that Rahman, who is known as Sunny, played a leading role in the conspiracy, with Crofts and Nikiel working on his behalf.

All three men were arrested in May this year, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, heroin and cocaine, at an earlier hearing.

It followed a lengthy surveillance-led investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

The court was told it was estimated that in excess of 2.5 kilos of class A drugs had been supplied.

Mizanur Rahman was described as a 'puppet master' in court. Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Judge Ian Lawrie KC described Rahman as the "puppet master" who exploited and took advantage of the naivety and youth of his two co-defendants, who were novices to crime.

They were primarily responsible for storing, preparing and supplying the drugs to Rahman’s customers.

Amongst the drugs seized during the operation was a kilogram block of high-purity cocaine, stored in packaging which showed it had come directly from South America.

Further large quantities of drugs were seized from Nikiel's address and drugs packaging from bins outside Crofts' address. The drugs had a street value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Rahman, who was out on licence for a previous drugs conviction, was supplying drugs directly to dealers in Gloucester and across the county. A notebook recovered from his home address revealed that Crofts was his trusted lieutenant.

Rahman was also in breach of a serious crime prevention order, which prevented him from having more than one mobile phone. A second phone, which was used to conduct his drugs business, was found hidden in Tredworth, close to his home address.

In mitigation, the court was told that there were no sinister elements to the conspiracy, which happened between December 2022 and May this year, and that this was a cynical enterprise to maximise profits.

Rahman said he would try to acquire a trade whilst in prison, the court heard.

Following a 30% discount due to the guilty pleas, Rahman was sentenced to 11 years and two months and given a five-year serious crime prevention order on his release.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs had been supplied. Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Crofts, who was described as having a "significant role" in the conspiracy and was a runner for Rahman, had left school without qualifications and had seen it as an opportunity too good to resist.

The court was told Crofts had an expectation of significant financial reward and had collaborated closely with Rahman. Following a third discount off his sentence, Crofts was jailed for five years.

Nikiel, who had been involved for a short time and had a less significant role, had been left on his own when his family moved back to Poland and had seen it as an opportunity to make some extra money. Due to his guilty pleas, he was given a third off his sentence and was jailed for three years.

The trio were told that they must serve half of their sentence before they can be released on licence. Judge Lawrie also ordered for the forfeiture of the drugs and cash to be seized.

Detective Inspector Matt Phillips from the Serious Organised Crime Unit said: "We hope that this sentence acts as a deterrent to anyone who might be tempted to get involved in supplying controlled drugs.  

"Rahman had only recently been released from prison for previous drug offences and tried to distance himself from the drugs by using others to do his dirty work.  

"A very thorough investigation by our officers showed that Rahman was in fact in control of everything that went on. 

"Hopefully this investigation will show the communities of Gloucestershire that the police continue to proactively target the issue of drug supply and are bringing those who seek to benefit from dealing drugs to justice.

"Supplying drugs should never be seen as an easy way to make money and Gloucestershire Constabulary will respond to all information they receive from the public to tackle the problem. 

"Anyone who has concerns that people they know are becoming involved in drug supply can call police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”