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JAILED: 'High-end' Wolverhampton drug dealer caught with £200k and loaded gun

By John Scott | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Aaron Chander was today locked up for 17 years after police smashed a £400,000 cocaine deal on the car park of a Wolverhampton pub.

Aaron Chander, aged 26, was labelled a 'leading person in the drug world' by the judge

A drug dealer who had almost £200,000 cash, a loaded handgun with a silencer and ammunition at his home has been jailed for more than 17 years.

Aaron Chander was arrested when undercover police smashed a £400,000 cocaine deal taking place on the car park of a Wolverhampton pub.

A surveillance team watched the 26-year-old leave his home in Stafford Road, Oxley, and drive to a rendezvous with Ferass Awwad and Abda Saleh who had travelled from Liverpool with the drugs, the city's crown court heard.

Their Audi stopped outside the Moreton Arms in Springfield Road, Fordhouses, two minutes before Chander parked his Golf alongside them.

£193,430 was found in cash at Chander's home in Stafford Road

Both had previously stopped at a nearby Premier Inn for a short time in a bid to establish if they were being followed but failed to spot members of the National Crime Agency who were shadowing their every move.

Detectives had the trio under observation from the moment Kuwait-born Awwad, aged 27 and 31-year-old Saleh, who comes from Yemen, left Liverpool to head down the M6 at 7.30pm on October 2 last year.

The pair had the post code of where to meet the contact and officers swooped as soon as one of them got out of their car and walked across to the Golf in which Chander was sitting.

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A search of the Audi revealed a black bag with 7kg sized blocks of high quality cocaine with a purity of between 91 and 95 per cent, said Mr Paul Mitchell, prosecuting who explained the stash was worth £400,000 in that form but would fetch 'much more' after being adulterated with cutting agents, repackaged and sold in street deals.

Some of the cash was found in a wardrobe

Officers discovered a total of £193,430 cash at Chander's home, £30,990 of which was lying on the dining room table while the rest was either scattered around the house in boxes and bags or carefully counted and bundled up in neat piles of notes on the top of a wardrobe.

A 'man-bag' found on the floor of his bedroom contained a 9mm gas gun adapted to fire ammunition and loaded with a magazine holding three live rounds.

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A further 13 rounds and a silencer lay nearby.

This pistol and gloves were found in a man bag in Chander's bedroom

The search of the property also uncovered more cocaine - 94 per cent pure and worth around £6,400 - together with crack valued at £1,200. There was also a tell-tale drug dealer's tick list of customers and the amount each owed.

A phone seized at the scene had a video which showed him wearing a mask in a room where blocks of drugs were being broken down into smaller deals. He and Saleh refused to reveal the PIN number to their phones but Awwad gave his.

University-educated Chander - who has a second-class degree in business management and no previous convictions - claimed to be looking after the drugs, gun, money discovered at his home for somebody else.

Aba Saleh was jailed for seven years for conspiracy to supply cocaine

But this was dismissed by Judge Dean Kershaw who told him: "You are a leading person within the drug world, a high-end player trusted by the people importing these drugs into this country.

"You had an enormous amount of money from ill gotten gains and serious weaponry. You are intelligent and put that intelligence to criminal use."

High-value designer clothes and shoes were also found at the address.

Awwad was sentenced to five years three months for possession of cocaine with intent to supply

Analysis of bank worker Awwad's phone showed he was a courier paid by Saleh, who gave the orders for pick-ups and deliveries in a drug business of 'significant size' dealing mainly in cannabis but also cocaine.

It was suggested Saleh was under pressure to pay off a debt with one text message saying he was fed up because all he earned from the racket was 'going to others.'

Mr Mitchell said Salah had a supervisory role in the operation and Awwad was his 'enthusiastic lieutenant.'

Chander admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession of drugs with intent to supply, possession of a loaded prohibited firearm, silencer and ammunition. He was jailed for a total of 17 years two months.

Saleh of Townsend Lane, Anfield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and was locked up for seven years while Awwad of Green Lane North, Childwall admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply and received five years three months.

Matthew McMillan, organised crime partnership operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “Organised criminals are a threat to the public even when unarmed.

“But if they have access to guns they become a serious danger to members of the public.

"I have no doubt that this firearm would have been used to further Chander’s drug trafficking."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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