Leader of drugs gang jailed for 10 years

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A MAN from Calderdale branded the leader and brains behind a trans-Pennine drugs conspiracy has been jailed for 10 years.

Mohammed Rafiq Hussain, from Northowram, was given the sentence after a judge said he had specialised in the trade as his only source of income.

The 49-year-old, of Church Walk, used a false name to rent a luxurious apartment at the Gatehaus complex in Bradford which was used a storage premises, and even had a car registration plate of B6 CSH which the prosecution suggested referred to ‘Big Cash’.

Hussain and his trusted lieutenants 31-year-old David Reed, of Princes Street, Bradford, and Matthew Geddes, 32, of Southlands, Baildon, were kept under surveillance by police as part of Operation Figaro in 2008 and 2009.

In November 2008 a car containing Reed and Geddes was stopped near Bradford following a trip to Liverpool and when it was searched officers found nearly half a kilo of cocaine with an estimated street value of almost £80,000.

Hussain, who had previously served a 10-year jail term for robbery and firearms offences, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs following a trial at Bradford Crown Court last month.

Reed was also convicted of the same offence in his absence after he absconded before the trial got underway.

Yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose jailed him in his absence for eight years and six months.

Geddes, who pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply, was sentenced to five years behind bars.

On the same day as the drugs seizure, 38-year-old Paul Huggon, of St John’s Lane, Halifax, met up with Hussain near his home and was seen carrying a heavy-looking bag.

Huggon, who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to supply drugs charge, admitted that he had been making a delivery of cash for a drugs deal, but said he did not whether they would be Class A or B drugs.

Father-of-two Huggon, who had drug-related offences on his record, was jailed for three years.

Another Halifax man Neil Foster, 58, of Athol Green, Ovenden, was sent to prison for five years.

He was found guilty of the conspiracy charge after the trial and Judge Rose said he had been a vital link between Hussain and 58-year-old Linda Cockerham, of Clare Street, Halifax, who is expected to be sentenced for her part next week.

Judge Rose told Foster that he had been a willing participant in the transmission of drugs..

A sixth defendant 60-year-old Stanley Carnall, of Liverpool, also received a 10-year prison term after the judge said he was an entrenched and established dealer in drugs.

The judge said the men appeared to have been motivated by greed and the easy money that came from the large-scale distribution of drugs.

The court heard that the surveillance operation included meetings between Hussain and some of the other defendants with other convicted drug dealers and criminals.

Judge Rose said it had been a carefully organised and executed conspiracy.

“Although the police are to be commended for bringing each of you, and indeed the two co-accused not present in the dock, to justice it should not be thought that the web of this particular conspiracy reached only as far as you seven. There were undoubtedly other people involved,” said Judge Rose.

Detective Inspector Noel Devine from West Yorkshire Police said: “I am very pleased with the sentences and hope that these act as a warning to others engaging in this type of offence.”