Four gang members were jailed yesterday for a combined total of 100 years for a range of crimes of violence, as well as drugs and firearms offences.
Three gang members – Jabari Fanty, aged 19; Aaron Yanbak, 20 and Ricardo Nkanyezi, 20 – were found guilty after a trial of the murder of 20-year-old Ramey Salem, who was shot dead in November 2020.
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And Fanty, Yanbak and another gang member, Jordan Foote, 20, were also found guilty of the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini the month before.
Gang members were also found guilty of conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life, possession of weapons and conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
Killers Fanty, of Broadhead Road, Stocksbridge and Yanbak, of Abbeydale Road, Abbeydale, were both sentenced to life with a minimum term of 35 years, and Nkanyezi, of Morgan Avenue, Southey Green, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 32 years.
A fifth defendant, Samsul Mohammed, of Wolseley Road, Sharrow, will be sentenced separately for his part in this case and for the murder of Sheffield solicitor, Khuram Javed, who was shot dead in the city in April 2021.
Fanty, Yanbak, Foote, Nkanyezi and Mohammed were members of a drugs gang operating in the Longley, Burngreave and Pitsmoor areas of Sheffield.
It was the prosecution’s case that the gang’s objective was to control the highly lucrative drug dealing market in South Yorkshire and beyond, reaping the immense profits to be gained and stopping at nothing to protect their ‘turf’.
They had ready access to firearms and ammunition and were completely prepared to use them on the streets. Their activities culminated in the attempted murder of one man and the murder of a second.
On October 19, 2020, CCTV captured a shooting incident in Longley Avenue, Parson Cross.
Four men in balaclavas emerged from a car, and in a confrontation with three other men one of the four fired a shot to the ground and another two fired two shots down an alleyway. Further shots were fired as the targets fled the scene in their car.
Expert analysis later showed that cartridges recovered from the scene were designed to be used in a blank firing gun which had been modified for use as a fully effective lethal firearm.
On October 31, in Osgathorpe Park, Ali al-Humakaini was shot five times, suffering life-threatening injuries. He underwent emergency surgery which saved his life.
Spent cartridges recovered from the scene bore the same identifying marks as the cartridges recovered from Parson Cross.
On November 2, a taxi driver collected two men, Aaron Yanbak and Ricardo Nkanyezi from Sheffield and drove them to a postcode in Rotherham.
They handed the driver a £20 note and told him to wait. After a short while they returned to the taxi and told the driver to drive off. The taxi was pursued and rammed by a 4x4. The two men got out of the taxi, and ran off.
The driver thought he heard shots being fired. Shell cases recovered from the scene bore the DNA of Yanbak and his girlfriend, Salma Shazad.
On November 16, 2020, Ramey Salem, 20, was shot dead at an address in Grimesthorpe Road South, Burngreave.
At the scene, officers discovered spent cartridges which bore identifying marks which linked them to the weapons recovered in previous incidents.
Separately, on October 4, 2020, a car which had been stolen shortly beforehand by three of the defendants was recovered by police.
In it they discovered a handgun and seven rounds of ammunition. The handgun bore traces of DNA from the defendants Fanty and Mohammed. The police also discovered cannabis, heroin and cocaine in the vehicle, together with £40 in cash.
Foote’s home was searched, and a mobile phone, a lock knife, a balaclava with eye holes and drug dealing paraphernalia were recovered.
Nkanyezi was arrested on 28 November 2020. Cannabis and cocaine, along with Yanbak’s bank card, were found in his bag. A hand gun was found at his home address. This bore traces of DNA from both Yanbak and Shazad.
Yanbak’s girlfriend, Shalma Shazad, of Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, from 3 October to 18 November, conspiracy to possess ammunition and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug from 3 October to 29 November 2020.
She had allowed her home to be used for the manufacture of ammunition and is to be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today.
When the flat she shared with Yanbak was searched, a firearm magazine suitable for use in a handgun was recovered.
Yanbak’s DNA was found on the magazine, and firearms residue on his clothing.
A witness described having seen a person manufacturing bullets in the flat and described activities that made plain that the premises were being used for the supply of drugs.
Detailed and systematic evidence from CCTV cameras and from mobile phones were painstakingly analysed as part of the investigation, revealing a web of connections between the defendants in support of the prosecution case.
Julian Briggs, a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “These gang members were prepared to go to ruthless lengths in the course of their violent criminality.
“They murdered one man and attempted to murder a second.
“They had ready access to a range of lethal weapons and ammunition and they would stop at nothing to achieve their aim of dominating the highly lucrative drugs market in South Yorkshire. In the pursuit of this, they put members of the public in great danger. They are now facing extremely lengthy prison sentences as a result of their actions.”