Nine years for one of Halifax’s most `prolific’ drug dealers

Mohammed Khurman Taj, sentenced to nine years at Bradford Crown Court after being arrested during Operation Irondale
Mohammed Khurman Taj, sentenced to nine years at Bradford Crown Court after being arrested during Operation Irondale

An on-the-run drug dealer who went on a shopping spree in Manchester buying designer goods for his wife has been jailed for nine years.

When police found Mohammed Khumran Taj holed up in a £600-a-month flat on an up-market development in Barnsley earlier this year they also seized £16,000 in cash as well as a BMW car and a stash of heroin and cocaine worth around £75,000.

Sohail Taj

Sohail Taj

The drugs were found in the boot of a VW Passat at the Gateway Plaza complex and officers also recovered cutting agents which could have been used to boost the street value of the drugs to more than £185,000.

Bradford Crown Court heard how Taj, 29, used a car valeting business as a front for his drug dealing activities and financial investigations revealed that over a number of years unexplained cash deposits totalling more than £50,000 had been paid into various bank accounts.

Taj, of Pear Street, appeared alongside his brother Sohail Taj, 21, of Lister Lane, Halifax, and their cousin 28-year-old Mohammed Riaz, of Gibraltar Road, Halifax.

The trio were the last defendants to be sentenced as part of Operation Irondale which involved undercover police officers posing as drug users on the streets of Halifax.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent said Mohammed Khumran Taj, who was known as Billy, took a leading role in a so-called “ring and bring” drug dealing operation for two years.

“Khumran Taj has proved himself to be a prolific and persistent drug dealer,” said Mr Dent.

“Despite being arrested a number of times and charged he seems to have gone on regardless with his drug dealing activities.”

The court heard that Mohammed Khumran Taj went on the run in March, but was arrested at the Barnsley flat three months later.

In October he pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges relating to the supplying of heroin and crack cocaine, possession of the drugs with intent to supply, and acquiring criminal property.

Sohail Taj, who admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs and two unrelated offences of dangerous driving, was jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years and banned from driving for two years.

Riaz, who was found guilty after a trial of being concerned in drugs supply, had his nine-month prison term suspended for two years and will have to do 250 hours unpaid work for the community and must abide by a night-time home curfew for the next three months.