Sisters of major drug dealers have been jailed for laundering dirty money while their siblings were in prison.
Surriya Bi, 31, and Asia Bi, 38, from Rochdale, made several cash payments worth £61,000 to pay money towards two mortgages.
The money had come from their drug dealing brothers Mohammed Hanif, 40, and Mohammed Shafiq, 32.
Hanif, who was behind a national heroin supply racket, was caught with ten kilos of the drug when he was arrested in Edinburgh in 2004.
His brother Shafiq was also a drug dealer, supplying heroin and cocaine around Rochdale.
Both men were handed length jail terms and it was while they were behind bars they used their sisters to launder their drugs money, a court heard.
Surriya Bi was a manager at RBS and “knew her way around the financial world” and had access to 17 bank accounts, prosecutor Henry Blackshaw told Minshull Street Crown Court. She later resigned in shame from her bank job, the court heard.
When she was arrested, police seized a £16,000 Audi A4 she was driving.
An investigation into the family’s finances revealed Surriya Bi bought a house on Park Road, Rochdale, in 2008 for £100k, paying a whopping £40,000 deposit.
She also paid a £70,000 deposit on a second house in 2009. She had cash reserves totalling £7,000 in several bank accounts.
Asia Bi paid a £20,000 deposit on a house she bought on Roch Street for £67,000 in 2005.
She paid £36,000 off the mortgage between 2007 and 2008 and had cash reserves of more than £7,000 in several bank accounts.
The extended family lived together at the terraced houses the sisters had bought on Park Road and Roch Street.
The sisters lived well despite ‘practically negligible’ legitimate income, Mr Blackshaw told the court.
Jailing the pair, Judge Leslie Hall told them he took account of the fact they had never been convicted before and that they would’t by in court if it wasn’t for their brothers.
He continued: “But the law must have regard as to where this money had come from. It had come from from very serious drug dealing and sentences have to be imposed which deter drug dealers from doing so. In your cases I have to pass sentences with respect to your involvement with that drug dealing. It seems to me that against that background that the proposal in the pre-sentence report for suspended sentences are – unhappily – wide of the mark.”
Surriya Bi was handed 22 months behind bars after admitting converting criminal property, namely using £40,000 in drugs money to pay of mortgages.
Mother of an eleven-year-old boy, Asia Bi was jailed for 18 months after she had admitted converting criminal property, some £21,000 in dirty cash used to pay off mortgages.
After the hearing, Detective Constable Gerard Fisher, said: “This has been a long, drawn out inquiry that we first started in 2010. Along the way we took out top and street level dealers. Now we have secured convictions against those not involved in the drug dealing directly, but who have benefited financially from it.”