South East Wales

Drugs gang jailed for £5m heroin haul in Newport

Top row left to right: Waseem Riaz, Imtiaz Ali, Mohammed Aftab Boota; Middle row left to right: Shazia Ahmed, Wasim Ali, Zawed Malik; Bottom row left to right: Paul Thomas, Mohammed Sajjad, Umar Arif Image copyright Handout
Image caption Top row left to right: Waseem Riaz, Imtiaz Ali, Mohammed Aftab Boota; Middle row left to right: Shazia Ahmed, Wasim Ali, Zawed Malik; Bottom row left to right: Paul Thomas, Mohammed Sajjad, Umar Arif

Ten members of a gang who conspired to supply £5m worth of heroin have been jailed.

Led by "generals" Mohammed Sajjad, 38, from Cardiff, and Imtiaz Ali, 35, from Newport, the group were involved in bringing the class A drug into Wales.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the group was arrested as part of one of the largest undercover operations in Wales.

Four were convicted after trial, while six others pleaded guilty to their part in the conspiracy from 2013-2014.

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Media captionThe group was arrested as part of one of the largest undercover operations in Wales
Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Money was found in a plastic bag seized in a Mercedes driven by Shazia Ahmed

Arrests were made after police seized 40kg (88lbs) of the drug in 2014.

Most was found inside a speaker and a suitcase in a car stopped on the M5, while a smaller amount was discovered in the footwell of a taxi in Newport.

Officers said the seizure had prevented half a million drug deals, the court heard.

Sentencing the group, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC, said the gang had dealt in "industrial quantities" of the "highly addictive evil drug".

Image copyright Police handout
  • Mohammed Sajjad, 38, from Cardiff, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, jailed for 17 years
  • Imtiaz Ali, 35, from Newport, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, jailed for 17 years
  • Paul Thomas, 42, of Cardiff, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, jailed for nine years
  • Waseem Riaz, 28, of Newport, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, jailed for seven years
  • Mohammed Aftab Boota, 27, of Newport, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, jailed for seven years
  • Shazia Ahmed, 38, of Newport, found guilty of conspiring to supply heroin after trial, jailed for 10 years
  • Wasim Ali, 29, of Newport, found guilty of conspiring to supply heroin after trial, jailed for eight years
  • Zawed Malik, 41, of Greater Manchester, found guilty of conspiring to supply heroin after trial, jailed for eight years
  • Umar Arif, 29, of Cardiff, found guilty of conspiring to supply heroin after trial, jailed for 10 years, four months
  • Tracey Ford, 39, of Cardiff, who admitted money laundering, jailed for three years, four months

Heroin seizures

There have been more heroin seizures across the South Wales Police force area than anywhere else in Wales and England, outside London, for at least the past three years, according to figures from the Home Office.

During 2014-2015, South Wales Police made 303 heroin seizures per million people. The average for Wales and England was 135 seizures per million.

A force spokesman said: "There is a greater focus from the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) utilising the control strategy - which enables us to prioritise a coordinated approach on regional crime groups and the traffic of drugs."

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