Eight men have been jailed for a total of more than 70 years for their parts in a drugs conspiracy targeting students in Nottingham.
A ninth man is also awaiting sentencing in connection with the investigation.
They had various roles in the running of two telephone drug lines – known as the “SID” and “BILLY” lines – that supplied cocaine and cannabis, with a turnover well in excess of £500,000 a year.
The investigation was launched in 2015 after a rise in violence which was linked to disputes among rival factions of drug dealers over the student drug market in Nottingham.
A complex network was uncovered whereby potential drug customer calls were firewalled off between different handsets and separate telephone numbers were used to control the onward distribution of the drugs.
Various different runners were then instructed to the locations of the customers who purchased the drugs.
Such was the success of the SID drug line, which supplied cocaine and cannabis, the investigation identified in excess of 17,500 communications, of which there was 1,176 different callers within one calendar month in 2015.
Detectives used telephone analysis, intelligence and covert tactics to unpick the network and bring the men to justice.
Aqib Shazad, 22, of Ena Avenue, Sneinton, was the head of the organisation and would avoid dealing drugs directly to customers, instead directing others in the operation to deliver drugs to the customers, Nottingham Crown Court heard. He was jailed for 14 years.
Jameel Khan, 34, of St Stephens Road, Sneinton, was one of the leading members of the gang. The “SID” drugs line had been in his phone for a period of time and he was trusted to not only deal drugs, but also to operate the drugs lines. He was jailed for 11 years.
Fasal Khan, 25, of St Stephens Road, Sneinton, brother of Jameel, and Gulam Mir, 30, of Lilac Grove, Beeston, were trusted members of the gang and regularly involved in the supply of drugs. Khan was jailed for 12 years and Mir was sentenced to eight years and five months.
The other men who were involved in selling drugs for the gang were Daniel Greenwood, 26, of no fixed abode – jailed for nine years and three months; Kasim Aftab, 26, of Oakdale Road, Bakersfield – jailed for nine years; Sojad Miah, 22, of Hardstaff Avenue, Sneinton – jailed for seven years; and Shiban Ahmed, 25, of Stockhill Circus, Old Basford – jailed for two years – suspended for 18 months.
All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis between 11 May 2015 to 4 August 2016.
The trial, which started on Tuesday 30 May at Nottingham Crown Court, was listed for seven weeks but they pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday 6 June and were sentenced today (Thursday 22 June).
Thomas Copson, 29, of Neston Drive, Cinderhill, who was involved in selling drugs for the gang, also admitted the same offences but will be sentenced at a later date, to be confirmed.
DS Mike Broddell said: “This has been a really challenging enquiry, primarily due to the complex nature of the telephone evidence that was presented. It has been a huge team effort amongst the Organised Crime Team and our colleagues to get this to and through court.
“In order to tackle this problem from an alternative angle we have worked closely with partner agencies, including Nottingham City Council and the universities, to educate potential users about the wider implications of drug use and to provide information around health services.”