05/06/2012

Brothers Jailed For Role In Drugs Supply

Two brothers have been jailed for over eight and a half years after pleading guilty to importing and supplying more than a tonne of cutting agents for use in the supply of cocaine.

Saleh Ahmed, 29, of Herbert House, Old Castle Street, Whitechapel E1, changed his not guilty plea after a week of evidence at Snaresbrook Crown Court. His brother, Siddique Ahmed, 23, of the same address, was found guilty at the end of a two week trial.

They were sentenced on Friday 1 June - Saleh Ahmed to five years and seven months imprisonment, and Siddique Ahmed to three years imprisonment.

The brothers were charged with a rarely used offence: 'committing an act capable of assisting the commission of an indictable offence (i.e. supplying controlled drugs), believing that an offence would be committed and that the act would assist in the commission of it, contrary to section 65 (sub-section 45) of the Serious Crime Act 2007'. Whilst cash seized from the Ahmeds was found to be heavily contaminated with cocaine, no actual controlled drugs were seized.

The jury heard that the brothers formed a company, Simply Benzo Limited, that sold benzocaine (an anaesthetic), phenacetin (a painkiller) and procaine (an anaesthetic), as well as other chemicals, to purchasers via the Internet. Saleh Ahmed also sold cutting agents from his car.

Following information provided by the Serious Organised Crime Agency Project Kitley, the MPS

investigation, named Operation Amo, took action on 29 March 2011. On that date officers from the London Regional Asset Recovery Team (LRART), part of the Specialist and Economic Crime Command, supported by units from the Territorial Support Group, executed a series of search warrants, one at the Ahmeds' home address where 38kg of cutting agent was found.

A further 213kg of cutting agent was found at a rented storage facility. A 1kg measuring jug and a large quantity of self seal bags were also recovered. The chemicals, in powder form, were imported by the Ahmeds from China. Saleh Ahmed had earlier admitted that he had possibly sold cutting agent to drug dealers, but insisted that he supplied the bulk of it for legitimate medical uses in the UK and overseas.

The officer in the case, DC Steve Everson, of the Economic and Specialist Crime Command, said: "This conviction and sentence serves as a stark warning to those thinking of starting a trade in these types of products outside the pharmaceutical industry. In their raw form, they are destined for one purpose only, the illegal drugs trade. The London RART and its partner agencies will actively pursue those involved in this trade."

(GK)

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