Five Sheffield men jailed for drug trafficking
Five men from Sheffield were among 10 drug dealers sentenced to almost 100 years in total by Nottingham Crown Court for trafficking heroin with a street value of up £1.4 million from Sheffield to Nottinghamshire.
Defendant Liban Abdullah of Holme Lane, who is still on the run, together with defendant Josiah Wiggan of Buckenham Street headed a Sheffield-based group to supply the drugs to a group of men based in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
In a statement, Nottinghamshire Police said Abdullah was sentenced in his absence to 14 years in prison and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Meanwhile, 30-year-old Wiggan is jailed to 11 years and 10 months.
Sheffield-based courier Waqas Bashir, 26, of Grimesthorpe, was sentenced to seven years and two months and Wiggan's right-hand man Christopher Williams of Daresbury Place was jailed for eight years and six months.
Taxi driver Mohammed Hader Nazir, 27, of Scott Road was handed an eight-year sentence.
The five men were part of a drug conspiracy with Sutton-in-Ashfield organised crime group that was headed by brothers Mark, 46 and Paul Day, 51.
Between June and November 2016, there were three key events that led to the collapse of the conspiracy, the police said.
"As part of their 'business' the couriers would use taxis to get between meet-ups and stashed their drugs along rural nature trails.
"On 20 June 2016, 29-year-old Abdullah made arrangements for 51-year-old Paul to meet Sheffield courier Waqas Bashir in South Normanton.
"The exchange took place in a McDonalds' car park, where Paul handed over payment for 2kg of heroin and cutting agent.
"Observing nearby was Josiah Wiggan, boss of the Sheffield arm of the operation ouotside of prison.
"The 30-year-old was joined by fellow organiser and driver Christopher Williams. Avoiding direct contact but giving orders over the phone was the other Day brother, Mark," the police said.
Despite the pre-planning and monitoring efforts of the two groups, things didn't go as planned for them, as Paul was caught throwing his recently purchased product out of the window during a police chase through country roads.
Due to the sheer value of the heroin and loss it would incur, Mark was then forced to join in the pursuit and pulled up next to his brother for him to throw a package between the vehicles.
"Witnesses then saw Mark circle back to collect other packages that his brother had dumped along the way. Paul was arrested after giving up the chase shortly after," the police said.
The groups continued the operation where two more exchanges took place over the next two months, but the locations were switched up due to the previous police presence but always took place in Nottinghamshire.
Now on bail, Paul chose to just observe while instructing his courier, Mathew Bentley to make the exchanges, added the police.
"After a short meet with Sheffield-based taxi driver Mohammed Nazir, they exchanged white plastic carrier bags.
"The final exchange took place on November 17, before they all parted ways on what would be their last meet before arrests were made and houses were raided," the police said.
Mark was jailed for 10 years and nine months and 'hands on' organised crime group frontman, Paul was jailed for 11 years and four months.
Street dealer Bernard McCann, 51, was jailed for nine years after heroine, cocaine, scales, money and dealer bags were seized from his home.
An associate of the brothers, Simon Garbutt, 61 who arrived in the UK from Greece in 2016 was sentenced to six years and eight months for helping stash the drugs and had a storage unit full of cutting agent.
Menawhile, courier Matthew Bently, 45, was given seven years and six months for his involvement.
Detective Inspector Andy Jones led the investigation at the East Midlands Special Operations Unit said: "This investigation has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to reach this successful conclusion.
"Most of the people involved are career criminals who tried very hard to avoid detection and cover their tracks. Their sentences reflect the key roles they played in bringing large quantities of Class A drugs into the East Midlands."