Eight members of an organised crime group (OCG) who conspired to run a multi-million-pound class A drug supply ring from their bases in Pendle and Burnley have been jailed for nearly 50 years.
Lancashire Police’s East Target Crime Unit investigated and dismantled the OCG, which operated the heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine supply lines, commonly referred to by their customers as the ‘Don’, ‘Shark’, ‘Rambo’, and ‘Harry’ lines, from February 2022 to March 2023.
The heads of the OCG were defendants Awais Khan, Javed Ahmed, Umar Hussain, and Subhan Mushtaq.
In April 2022, a drug courier was arrested in Humberside in possession of five kilograms of cocaine.
Enquiries revealed he had travelled from Nelson with 10 kilograms of cocaine and had been directed where to go by Mushtaq. The courier was given passwords to say and receive before the deals took place.
Mobile phone enquiries showed the courier had completed wholesale deals on cocaine in Hull, Birmingham, and Leicester before being arrested.
The Don and Shark lines were run by Khan and Ahmed, who between them directed their street dealers and drivers where to go and sent out bulk text messages to drug users advertising heroin and crack cocaine for sale.
Both men were captured on CCTV buying top-up credit for their drug lines, with Khan primarily controlling the Don line and Ahmed the Shark line.
Defendant Sohail Khan worked as a street dealer for the Don and Shark lines, amongst others.
The Rambo and Harry lines, which suppled crack cocaine and heroin, were controlled by Mushtaq from a safehouse in Brierfield, with defendants Zain Shah and Ali Hussain acting as his street dealers.
Glen Tranter and Dillon Gabriel were dealing for the Don and Shark lines.
The heads of the OCGs hired luxury cottages and holiday rental costing thousands of pounds per week and regularly moved to avoid detection in an attempt to thwart the investigation.
Enquiries showed those operating the Harry, Don, Shark, and Rambo lines would share use of the same street dealers, meaning multiple cars would be moving around Lancashire dealing drugs for all four strands.
During the course of the investigation, officers seized drugs, cash, and weapons, and also put the four drug-dealing lines out of action.
The following individuals were arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced for the below offences:
Subham Mushtaq, 20, of Pennine Way, Brierfield – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. Jailed for seven years.
Awais Khan, 23, St Paul’s Road, Nelson – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. Jailed for seven years.
Javed Ahmed, 30, of Lune Street, Colne – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. Jailed for eight years.
Umar Hussain, 24, of Southfield Square, Nelson – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Zain Shah, 24, of Claughton Street, Burnley – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. Jailed for eight-and-a-half years.
Ali Hassan, 20, of Duke Street, Colne – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. Jailed for six years.
Sohail Khan, 27, of Cleaver Street, Burnley – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. Jailed for four years and four months.
Dillon Gabriel, 21, of Bernard Street, Burnley – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. Jailed for three years and 10 months.
Glen Tranter, 54, of May Street, Nelson – Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. Jailed for three years and 10 months.
Officers also need to speak to Rafhan Sarwar (pictured below), 33, of Charles Street, Nelson, in connection with the cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin supply conspiracy.
DCI Tom Edmondson, of East CID, said: “This was a significant policing operation, which thanks to the hard work, persistence and dedication of the officers from our East Target Crime Unit, has led to four Class A drug-dealing lines being taken out of commission and members of a sophisticated OCG jailed.
“I hope the outcome of this case sends out a clear and strong message that East Lancashire should be seen as a hostile environment for those who conspire to supply Class A drugs and that our officers will do everything in their power to identify them and take down their criminal networks.”
The operation was part of Operation Warrior, which aims to disrupt and dismantle organised crime.
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Andrew Snowden, said: "It's important that we send a clear message to criminals that police are coming to get you, and this is another great example of the work officers do, every single day, to disrupt and dismantle organised crime gangs and put them behind bars.
"It's what Op Warrior is all about, taking the fight to criminals that blight our communities, and seeing even more arrests, more asset seizures and more drugs off our streets.
"Results like this, which will directly make Lancashire safer, is what the public want to see and delivers on a top priority in my Fighting Crime Plan.
"I would encourage anyone to report suspicious activity, or any information that might help in bringing criminals to justice.
"We continue to go after more and make sure those involved in organised crime feel the full force of the law and have their day in court.”