Police carried out covert observations of Wednesbury-based dealer Shahnoor Ahmed and Gloucester boxing coach Shumel Ahmed during the latter part of 2019, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
Both men were found to be important players in the 'Ace' drugs line and were arrested. They have now admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine to others between August 1, 2019, and December 11, 2019.
A third man, Liam Hergest, 28, from Gloucester, had already been sentenced to 22 months in prison in December for his part in the operation.
Prosecutor Ramin Pakrooh said that both Ahmeds were "higher up the drugs food chain" than Hergest.
He said: "The Ace drugs line had been running during 2019 when it became part of a police surveillance operation in August of that year.
"The police witnessed multiple drug deals being transacted all over Gloucestershire in public places, mainly car parks, during the four month operation. Buyers would arrive at a prearranged meeting place. The runner would get into the buyers car where the transaction was completed.
"On November 20, the police intercepted a buyer who was in possession of wraps of heroin for his own use. The drug user’s phone was examined and showed evidence of being in regular contact with the Ace drugs line.
“The police investigation led them to realise that the Ace line was making around 100 street deals a day, equalling more than £1,000.
“Shumel Ahmed was the owner of the Ace line and controlled the finances. He was also the main beneficiary of the operation, making substantial profits from it. He directed those below him, but did not supply to end users. His role therefore was significant.
“Shahnoor Ahmed assisted in the operation and was often in control of the Ace drugs line. He was the person who ensured that local dealers in the county were properly supplied. He was not a runner, but did fill in when there was problems on a particular day. He also made substantial profits from his role, which was also significant. However Shahnoor Ahmed was subordinate to Shumel Ahmed.
“Shahnoor Ahmed gave instructions how to cut and package the drugs to the middle men and upon his arrest he had £10,000 in his possession.”
Anjali Gohil, defending Shahnoor Ahmed, said: "There is some discrepancy over how much he benefited from the Ace drugs line. There were also a number of people above him in the chain of command.
“He does admit running the operation in Shumel Ahmed’s absence. He is an unsophisticated man who has always known he would receive a substantial prison sentence and while in custody he has shown genuine remorse and has written to the court apologising for his actions.
“Shahnoor Ahmed initially got into gambling after running up a substantial debt and found the drug operation a way of paying this back.
“He has also embraced his time in prison. He has become a counsellor to other inmates and this has resulted in him becoming a super enhanced prisoner.”
John Greenan, defending Shumel Ahmed, said: "He was only at the helm of the drugs line for a short period of the police’s surveillance operation, having gone to Spain for much of the conspiracy period.
“He had previously ran a successful boxing club in the city. He has shown real remorse over his actions and feels that he has let his family and the local community down. In prison he has become a listening prisoner, helping those with mental health issues."
Shuhmel Ahmed, 22, of Buchan Drive, Kingsway, Gloucester, was jailed for five years and three months, while Shahnoor Ahmed, 26, of Wemsbury Avenue, Wednesbury, was sentenced to three years and four months. Both men were ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge each. They will be subject to a Proceeds of Crime hearing in July.
Judge Ian Lawrie QC told the men: “You made a lot of money from dealing class A drugs over the four month period. You both held significant roles within the operation. It was clear this county line drug network was well organised. The Ace line was busy and there is strong evidence of collaboration between the pair of you.
“Whatever possessed both of you to get involved in the conspiracy? Whatever it might have been, debt or pressure from others, you both clearly made significant profits from it. You were doing this to achieve a financial advantage. You found it easy money.
"You Shumel Ahmed carried the primary responsibility and were the driving force of the operation. Drugs to the value of £1,000 a day were being supplied in Gloucestershire per day.
“The drugs seized from both of you were valued at over £12,000. However, you are both bright men and have been excelling in a prison environment. While in custody for over a year, you have both shown a degree of remorse."