Sandwell drugs gang leaders jailed after smuggling heroin in chicken shipments
The ringleaders of an organised West Midlands gang who imported heroin in shipments of chicken have been locked up for a combined 44 years.
Sandwell men Nazrat Hussain, 36, and Wasim Hussain, 34, have been jailed for more than 29 years and 14 years respectively after being convicted of importing class A drugs.
The men were the leaders of a gang which set up a series of front companies involved in importing chicken from the Netherlands
Heroin and cocaine worth around £5 million was found hidden in three different chicken shipments but police believe there were 16 more batches which contained drugs.
The importations began in June 2016 and continued into 2017.
After the first two seizures the crime group set up a new company to try and cover their tracks, using a new name to carry on.
They used genuine shipping companies to move loads from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to distribution hubs where they were collected by members of the group.
The shipments were set up by Nazrat Hussain, of Sundial Lane, Great Barr, who made regular trips over to the Netherlands to meet Dutch suppliers.
Change in tactics
When two shipments were intercepted and two gang members were arrested the gang switched tactics to using corrupt baggage handlers.
These handlers were used to collect 3kgs of high-purity cocaine off a flight from Brazil to Heathrow.
But officers were watching and moved in to make arrests as one of the airport workers met taxi driver Adnan Ahmed Malik just outside the airport. Three more kilograms of high-purity cocaine was found in a rucksack in the taxi.
Both Hussains were both in contact with Malik in the run-up to the meeting and had tried to call him following his arrest.
After this drug smuggling route had been thwarted the Hussains moved back to their chicken method and recruited Mohammed Shabir, a worker at a Birmingham-based meat supplier, to help.
In June 2017 another shipment was dispatched from the Netherlands, but the drugs were removed by Dutch police.
When it arrived in Birmingham minus the drugs the group knew they had been busted.
Wasim, of Murdoch Road, Handsworth, rang his main Dutch criminal contact telling him “throw your phone, throw everything, throw the SIM away” and he and Mohammed Shabir were arrested shortly afterwards.
Nazrat was in the Netherlands at the time but was arrested by Dutch police and extradited back to the UK. He later pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to import class A drugs.
It can also now be reported that he was previously found guilty of conspiring to supply a firearm, as was Wasim Hussain.
Brothers Manjinder and Davinder Singh Thakhar, along with Mohammed Shabir, pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group.
And after a five-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court Wasim Hussain was found guilty of conspiring to import a class A drug.
A sixth man, 37-year-old Khaiyam Hussain, of Overbury Road, Northfield, was found not guilty of participating in an organised crime group.
Nazrat Hussain was sentenced to 29-and-a-half years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court, while Wasim Hussain got 14 years and four months.
Mohammed Shabir, 38, of Waverley Road, Small Heath, 36-year-old Manjinder Singh Thakhar and 37-year-old Davinder Singh Thakhar, both of Bowden Road, Smethwick, will be sentenced on January 23 next year.
Colin Williams, National Crime Agency branch operations manager, said: “Throughout the course of this investigation, which has gone on for more than three years, we have systematically dismantled an organised crime group that was involved in the importation and distribution of class A drugs across the West Midlands.
“As well as drugs, the gang also attempted to source firearms, presumably to be used to threaten others in support of their criminality.
“The investigation has uncovered links to criminal networks in London and the Netherlands, and our partnership with the Dutch police was crucial.
“We worked our way through the group until we managed to reach the two men at the very top - Wasim Hussain and Nazrat Hussain.
“As we have shown in this case, the NCA will use the full range of its capabilities to comprehensively target and disrupt those involved in organised criminal activity.
“In total more than 98 years of jail sentences have been handed out, and with these men behind bars communities in the West Midlands and beyond are safer.”
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