Police who destroyed a £10m heroin importation racket, orchestrated by a dealer known as “The Colonel”, are now aiming to smash the narcotics suppliers in Pakistan.
Mohammed Imran Khan, 34, led a gang which distributed heroin across the North West, which he imported from Pakistan.
The married father-of-two was imprisoned for nine years and four months. Fifteen other members of his Oldham-based gang were also locked up.
Police believe their year-long operation to catch the gang has made a huge dent in the heroin market across the North West.
Sixteen dealers including a “Mr Big” were jailed as Greater Manchester Police smashed £10m heroin supply ring.
Khan was the Mr Big crime boss who imported the drugs from Pakistan, where he was born. Now the National Crime Agency (NCA) is pursuing his contact in Pakistan – named in court as Mohammed Shiraz.
Shiraz among others is suspected of sending small packages of heroin to the UK, hidden in children’s clothes, hollowed-out books and bedding.
One of Shiraz’s brothers, Mohammed Shanawaz, was in the dock with Khan and was handed an 11 year sentence for his part in the racket.
Khan, Shanawaz, 28 and Alior Rahman, 30, of Oldham, were the three men at the head of the drugs gang. Rahman was jailed for 11 years.
Major crime gang
Detective Inspector Chris Mossop said: “They were very clever. It was relatively small amounts of drugs each time. And they tried to stay low-key. They didn’t have flash cars or big houses, although they were well off.”
Khan was known as “The Colonel” because his drug racket was run with military precision.
Det Insp Mossop added: “This marks the culmination of more than a year’s work to bring some extremely determined and well-connected drug dealers to justice and I am delighted so many of these criminals are now starting lengthy jail sentences. Some of these offenders belonged to multiple criminal networks which shows the scale and determination of these criminals to build up their drug empires.
“However, the fact we have successfully prosecuted offenders from three separate criminal empires shows the lengths officers from the Serious Organised Crime Group will go to in their efforts to unmask everyone involved in these drug empires and bring them crashing down.
“It is very rare to bring successful prosecutions against every level of an organised crime network, but in the case of Mohammed Imran Khan’s gang, that is exactly what we have done.
“You often find that the masterminds of these (gangs) like Khan –the so-called “Mr Bigs” – keep their distance from handling the drugs themselves and let the acolytes who deal on their behalf take the fall. But in this instance we have utterly dismantled this network root and branch which is a massive achievement.
“Effectively, we have permanently removed a major supply chain that shipped millions of pounds worth of heroin from Pakistan to the UK. The knock-on effect will have an impact across the communities of not just Manchester but the north west.”