Luton man jailed for nearly 12 years for his part in national drug dealing network distributing huge amounts of cocaine

More members of national drug dealing network jailed following ERSOU investigation

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 3:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 3:06 pm

A man from Luton is one of three members of a national drug dealing network - who left a ‘trail of misery’ behind them - who have been sent to prison.

The trio were sentenced yesterday (Wednesday) at a hearing at St Albans Crown Court, for their part in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs throughout the UK.

They are the latest members of a national drug dealing network to be sentenced following an investigation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).

Wasim Afzal (C) Bedfordshire Police

Wasim Afzal, 44, from St Margaret’s Avenue, Luton, was a courier for the organised crime group (OCG).

He travelled the length and breadth of the UK to deliver kilo quantities of cocaine to customers as far north as Middlesbrough, and as far south as Christchurch. He was found guilty following a trial and was jailed for 11 years and nine months.

Ashan Mahmood, 49, of Southlands Avenue, Peterborough, and Ben Lewis, 29, of St Swithins Road, Bridport, Dorset, were customers of the OCG, buying kilo quantities of Class A drugs which they would then sell on, Mahmood in Peterborough and Lewis in Dorset.

Mahmood was found guilty following a trial and received an 11-and-a-half year sentence.

Ashan Mahmood and Ben Lewis (C) Bedfordshire Police

Lewis pleaded guilty at a court hearing on Tuesday and was jailed for seven years and two months.

During the sentencing, His Honourable Judge Gray said that the trio received long sentences because of their “trail of misery”. He also added: “Drugs wreck lives at every level. You all know that.”

In total, nine men have now been jailed for more than 84 years as part of the investigation. The other six men jailed are part of this operation are:

> Ansar Akram, of Thumpers, Hemel Hempstead, jailed for 15 years

> Ajmal Akram, of Thumpers, Hemel Hempstead, jailed for 14 years

> Ryan Brockley, of Deepdale, Leicester, jailed for five years

> Jameel Khan, of Winchester Street, Nottingham, jailed for 10 years

> Ali Zarei, of Derngate, Northampton, jailed for five years and four months

> Sarfraz Asif, of Dordans Road, Luton, jailed for four-and-a-half years

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Luton man jailed for his role in drug dealing network distributing huge amounts ...

Meetings were arranged by the group using covert encrypted devices intended to be hidden from the police, with couriers often travelling vast distances to drop off the drugs before returning immediately afterwards, all the while taking steps to disguise their activity.

Detective Inspector Ian Mawdesley, from ERSOU’s regional organised crime unit, said: “We’re really pleased to see another three members of this drugs network locked up.

“Afzal played significant roles in the OCG, facilitating the distribution of cocaine across the country, while Mahmood and Lewis were responsible for peddling the cocaine throughout communities from Peterborough to Dorset.

“The supply of Class A drugs ravages communities across the country, which is why we target these organised crime groups.

“The investigation team has worked tirelessly to bring this network to justice and we’re pleased that nine men are now facing a substantial time behind bars as a result of our efforts.

“We will continue to leave no stone unturned in our fight against the supply of drugs; both within the eastern region and beyond to protect the vulnerable, improve community safety and quality of life.”