A major drugs ring responsible for flooding crack cocaine and heroin onto the streets of Rochdale has been smashed thanks to Greater Manchester Police.
Following a two-year investigation by officers from the Rochdale Drugs Unit, during which £750,000 worth of drugs were seized, one of Rochdale's senior drug suppliers is now behind bars.
Aadil Ahmed (born 27/07/1982), of Sparthfield Avenue, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing and on 8 January 2013 was jailed for eight years and three months.
Another member of this criminal network, Grant Hartley (born 16/10/1981), of Stoneyvale Court, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Aadil's sister Aneela Ahmed (born 09/05/1984) of Sparthfield Avenue, Rochdale, was found guilty of two counts of converting criminal property following a trial, and was ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1200 towards court costs.
Aadil Ahmed was one of Rochdale's high ranking drug suppliers and was suspected of acting as a local wholesaler, selling at street level. His drug business operated under the name of 'Saj'.
Living off the profits of his drugs empire, Ahmed led a lavish lifestyle which included expensive holidays and the purchase of high-powered cars.
But thanks to Operation Tremor, his network was effectively dismantled and during the investigation police seized drugs with a street value of £750,000, numerous luxury motor cars and more than £5,300 in cash.
PC Gabriel Gibson, Investigating Officer, said: "Today is the result of painstaking police work by officers to unmask this drugs ring and bring one of Rochdale's most senior drug dealers to justice.
"The successful prosecution of Ahmed is an absolutely fantastic result for the communities of Rochdale and means a man who persistently flooded the streets of Rochdale with crack cocaine and heroin can no longer do any more damage.
"When we talk about seizing three-quarters-of-a-million pounds worth of drugs, in real terms what that means is that we have effectively stopped literally scores of drugs from getting into the hands of hardened drug addicts. The positive effect that will have in Rochdale is immeasurable.
"Everyone is well aware of the corrosive effects of drugs and that they can kill people, but sometimes what is forgotten is that drug addicts often result to burglaries and robberies to fund their addictions, victimising innocent people just to satisfy their need for drugs.
"It is people like Ahmed who are responsible for creating this cycle of misery. He clearly thought nothing of the consequences of selling drugs, he simply wanted to line his own pockets so he could enjoy all the trappings of criminality, as evidenced by his jet set lifestyle and fondness for expensive cars despite not paying any income tax. That is an insult to hard working people who I'm sure will be delighted seeing him imprisoned for such a long time.
"We exposed his criminality as a result of a meticulous investigation that involved analysis of more than 145,000 calls and 900 telephone numbers to other dealers and addicts and some good old-fashioned police work.
"Finally, I would like to thank the people from our communities who were brave enough to report suspicious activity at the drugs stash on Carfax Fold which enabled us to seize such a large quantity of drugs and bring Ahmed and co to justice. We are absolutely determined to root out these drug dealers and with your help we can achieve tremendous results. Look out for tell-tale signs such as properties which always have the curtains drawn, appear to be vacant yet are frequented by numerous different visitors, dustbins not put out, unusual smells etc and if you are suspicious, then please call us."
Ahmed was already under investigation by police following concerns from other residents in the Bamford area that cars were being used as mobile drug dens from which deals were made. As the investigation unfolded, the cars used were also revealed to be linked to Ahmed and Hartley.
Hartley himself had been arrested on 6 November 2009 following a police pursuit in which he crashed his Nissan Almera on Whitworth Road, Rochdale. Hartley attempted to flee but was caught with 35 wraps of heroin and cocaine along with a mobile phone. A search of his home revealed more drugs and cash stashed under the cushions of his sofa.
While in custody, Ahmed contacted the service provider of the phone seized from Hartley and transferred the number to another handset, effectively keeping this drug dealing hotline open.
Following intelligence from the local community about possible suspicious activity, officers from the Rochdale North Neighbourhood Team executed a warrant at a house on Carfax Fold, Norden, on 29 January 2010, from where the officers seized four kilograms of heroin and scales hidden in a bedroom wardrobe.
Inquiries established the vacant property was effectively used as a stash house for drugs and was rented out using false details. Numerous cars were seen briefly pulling up outside the house to make drugs deposits, cars later linked to Ahmed.
On 4 March 2010, officers executed two warrants in the Milkstone and Deeplish areas at addresses linked to Ahmed. During the raids, police recovered a £30,000 BMW 530 which had been seen making drop offs to the house on Carfax Fold along with a number of expensive goods such as designer Jimmy Choo shoes and various perfumes. Receipts totalling over £10,000 were recovered showing that designer goods had been bought using cash at designers stores such as Selfridges. A snap shot of items bought in cash were a £650 Gucci watch, a £105 rug, £170 trainers, more than £630 in jewellery, a £273 hooded Y3 top, £476 at Ikea and a separate £500 shopping session at Selfridges.
Digital images were found on a camera seized by police which revealed photographs of numerous cars visiting the stash house.
Documentation seized showed Ahmed had enjoyed a recent luxury holiday to the Maldives, and had stayed in the Hilton Hotel on Deansgate.
Ahmed and his sister were arrested and bailed.
However, on 12 May 2010 Ahmed was pulled over by police in an uninsured Volkswagen Golf. When it was searched, officers recovered £2,000 in cash and latex gloves. The vehicle was seized by police and Ahmed arrested. Ahmed was later issued penalty points for driving without insurance.
As part of the investigation, police conducted meticulous telephony work on the phones seized from Ahmed and Hartley which revealed they were both connected and in frequent contact with both themselves and also well-known drug addicts in the Rochdale area.
Aneela Ahmed, the sister of Aadil, was not involved in the drugs conspiracy. However, she did take out finance to purchase two BMW cars on behalf of her brother, who paid regular cash deposits into her bank accounts to cover the repayments, effectively concealing the profits of Ahmed's drug empire by converting it into legitimate payments for the cars. The cars were a BMW 535d and a BMW 530.
Investigations were also made into the finances of the trio, which revealed Aadil Ahmed had not paid any income tax since 2007, made extensive and expensive trips around the world, deposited more than £40,000 in cash into his bank accounts and bought or financed more than 15 high-powered vehicles over a three-year period. Investigations continue in to the trios finances.