Oldham heroin smuggling ringleaders jailed
The ringleaders of drug gangs involved in smuggling heroin into the UK hidden in soap, children's clothes and bedding have been jailed.
Police said the trio of organised crime networks all aimed to "flood the streets of Manchester with drugs".
Mohammed Shanawaz and Alior Rahman, both of Oldham, were jailed for 11 years. Mohammed Khan, also of Oldham, was jailed for nine years, four months.
Thirteen others were jailed at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday.
The sentences follow a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) operation targeting the supply of the Class A drug to Oldham and the North West.
Bedding and blankets
Police said more than 2kg (5lb) of heroin with a street value of more than £400,000 was seized from Khan's gang.
In July last year a FedEx consignment from Pakistan, addressed to a property in Burnley, was intercepted by officials at Stansted Airport.
When examined, drugs worth about £300,000 were found stashed between bedding and blankets, police said. A similar package was sent earlier in the month.
In April, a parcel was intercepted at Coventry Airport sent from Bangladesh containing heroin hidden in children's jackets.
Further packages connected to the men were seized at East Midlands Airport and at a Sheffield property.
Rahman, 30, Khan, 34, and Shanawaz, 27, all admitted drugs importation offences at an earlier court hearing.
Det Insp Chris Mossop, from GMP, said a number of "extremely determined and well-connected drug dealers" had been brought to justice.
"It is very rare to bring successful prosecutions against every level of an organised crime network, but in the case of Mohammed Khan's gang, that is exactly what we have done.
"Effectively, we have permanently removed a major supply chain that shipped millions of pounds worth of heroin from Pakistan to the UK."