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Drugs gang jailed for more than thirty years

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

A GANG which supplied cocaine across East Lancashire have been jailed for more than 30 years.

Operation Brick saw the takedown of the Organised Crime Group in an investigation led by the Pendle Task Force.

Back in November 2022, Anthony Zia was stopped driving his vehicle in Colne. He was found to have multiple wraps of cocaine stuffed down his trousers. Further enquiries unveiled Aqib Mushtaq as the man directing Zia; telling him where to go, how much cocaine to deliver and who to deliver it to. Aqib was then arrested in February 2023 and released under investigation.

Meanwhile the Ali/Dev drugs line was seized in Accrington. This was shown to be working in partnership with other drugs lines, namely Oxy, Baz and Escobar.

Intensive research showed an organised approach to drug dealing, with each of the lines communicating with one another to forward customers on dependent upon their location. Each line essentially had ownership of districts, and should they receive orders from customers within another district, they would then contact the respective drugs line to complete the order.

In advertising their drugs lines, the holders of the phones would encourage customers to pay via bank transfer. Specifically, they would ask customer pay into a bank account under the name of Adnan Ishafaq. It was discovered that Ishafaq would in turn transfer large sums of money to his brother: Mohammed Rizwan.

Subsequently, a strike day took place in July 2023 when multiple warrants were executed, resulting the arrests of Wahid Hussain, Mushtaq, Ishafaq, Rizwan and Aydan Hussain, as well as seizures of 22 phones, £22,693 in cash and over 170 streets deals of cocaine, valued at just under £6,000.

All the above were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. All but Rizwan pleaded guilty to the offence, with Rizwan being found guilty after a trial in February 2024.

An estimated total of 5.089kg of cocaine was believed to have been sold during the period, totalling an estimated £508,950.

The following sentences totalling more than 30 years were handed down at Burnley Crown Court on Monday:

  • Aqib Mushtaq, 25, of Hendon Road, Nelson, 11 years, 8 months
  • Adnan Ishafaq, 19, of St Edmund St, Great Harwood, 4 years, 3 months
  • Mohammed Rizwan, 33, of St Edmund St, Great Harwood, 9 years
  • Anthony Zia, 26, of Smith St, Nelson, 3 years
  • Aydan Hussain, 24, of no fixed abode, 3 years

Wahid Hussain, 35, of HMP Preston is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Inspector Hesketh of the Pendle Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I welcome these sentences which I hope will serve as a deterrent to those involved in the illegal drug trade. We will continue to relentlessly target anyone who seeks to profit from the supply of drugs in our communities, often preying upon & profiting from the most vulnerable members of our communities, and I would ask for anyone who has any information about drug dealing in their area to get in touch so we can take action.”

We still need to speak to Wasim Ali, 34, of Accrington in relation to the operation. If you have any information as to his whereabouts, or in relation to anything else, you can contact us on 101, online or alternatively you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Ishafaq Zia Mushtaq

Hussain Rizwan

Wasim Ali