Drug dealers from Syston and Thurmaston have been found guilty of trying to flood the street with more than £10million of class A drugs.
A jury at Leicester Crown Court today (Friday) found that Jagdish Patel (51), of The Firs, Syston, conspired to import cocaine and heroin and to supply cocaine and heroin and that 44-year-old Ravindra Modha, of Sandiacre Drive, Thurmaston, conspired to import cocaine.
Three other men, from Birmingham and Wembley, were also foud guilty of being part of the organised crime gang, which mported heroin and cocaine hidden in purpose-made secret compartments of furniture, children’s clothes and industrial bolts to business addresses in Leicester.
Their plan to distribute the drugs nationwide was interrupted by an investigation led by detectives from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), working in liaison with the National Crime Agency and with law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands, Pakistan and in France.
The intelligence-led investigation was launched in September 2016 after the Metropolitan Police uncovered a batch of the bolts. Following examination, it was found that they had been drilled hollow, and heroin was found to be hidden inside.
The £10million worth of class A drugs was biggest such seizure ever made in Leicestershire.
Following months of detailed enquiries, five of the gang were arrested in January last year, with a further two arrested last July.
The trial of all seven began 10 weeks ago and during the trial one of the gang, Ayaz Hussain, pleaded guilty to supply. A second, Paulvinder Randhawa, admitted supply at the start of the trial, but denied an importation charge.
The other five, including Patel and Modha, were found guilty today after protesting their innocence.
During the course of the investigation it was established that the five were involved in arranging, managing and overseeing the importation of drugs as well as their distribution within the UK to be sold on the streets.
The network organised the importation of 60kg of cocaine, with a street value of £9.6m, as well as 1kg of heroin with a street value of £316,000. A further shipment of cocaine and heroin, organised by the group, was seized in France, while a shipment of heroin, destined for the UK, was seized in Pakistan.
The illegal activities undertaken by the group were overseen by Patel and Hussain. The pair made multiple trips to the Netherlands and Pakistan to organise the importation of the drugs, with the help of Modha.
Det Insp Harry Rai, EMSOU’s senior investigating officer in the case, said: “Patel and Talib Hussain, with the support of Modha, were drug traffickers of a serious calibre.
“They were well connected in their trade to import a regular supply of drugs from Pakistan and the Netherlands.
“They devised a plan to conceal the drugs in chairs, bolts and children’s clothes to try and make it seem like the deliveries being brought to Leicester were part of their everyday business.
“In my 22 years in policing and 14 years being part of serious and organised crime investigations, I haven’t come across anything on this scale.”
After the same trial, Suresh Pattani (69), of Colby Drive, Thurmaston, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin; Chandrakant Chavda (60), of Leicester, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and Paulvinder Randhawa was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine.