Drug gang tried to smuggle £10m worth of heroin from Pakistan to Black Country
A gang of men who attempted to smuggle heroin worth up to £10m from Pakistan to an industrial estate in the Black Country were caught in a sting by borders officials.
The group concealed the drugs inside industrial machinery in two container shipment's from Lahore, Pakistan, due for a delivery address at an industrial unit in Sandwell.
But Border Force officers found the 165kg of powered heroin – before reassembling the equipment and sending it on its way with a National Crime Agency team following its progress.
Ameran Zeb Khan, 38, of Cobham Road, Bordesley Green, Mohammed Ali, 36, of Wyndcliff Road, Bordesley Green, and Sajid Hussain, 32, of Fieldhouse Road, Yardley, organised two container shipment's from Pakistan to the London Gateway Port in February and July last year.
Omar Isa, 36, Chipperfield Road, Castle Bromwich, and Imran Arif, 35, of Kenelm Road, Small Heath, took delivery of the lathes, unaware NCA officers were filming them and recording their conversations.
Other key players in the group were Rajesh Patel, 52, of Botley Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, who used his business to provide apparently legitimate paperwork for the shipment's and Mohammed Ashaf Khan, 49, of The Leverretts, Handsworth, who handled logistics.
Zulfgar Munsaf, 38, Bellefield Road, Winson Green, passed on the bosses’ wishes to the ground troops.
The seized heroin, which the group planned to sell on in bulk, had a purity of 58 per cent and was worth £5m uncut.
The NCA believe a similar quantity of heroin was contained in an earlier shipment for which they have found records, meaning the conspiracy could have earned the group up to £10m.
Munsaf pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import heroin, while the remaining seven were found guilty after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court. They will be sentenced on Friday.
Jim Cook, senior investigating officer at the NCA said: “The officers on this job skilfully took apart metal machinery, reassembled it and got it to its destination in good time without arousing suspicion.
“The NCA, Border Force and West Midland police have stopped street level gangs accruing revenues of about £20million.
“This adds to the illicit property portfolio the NCA has already clawed back from a wider group with links to this job.
“Results like this protect the public firstly by keeping this drug off the streets but also by putting a serious dent in the criminal economy.”