A DRUGS counsellor turned smuggler has been jailed for 12 years for his part in a £1.3m drugs deal.
Mahfooz Ahmed, 35, has been on the run from his home at Mayfield Drive, Halifax, since March 2005.
During his time on the run he continued to break the law, taking part in another drugs deal which would have seen more than £11 million of heroin landing on the streets of the UK.
On March 20 2005, Ahmed was seen by undercover Border Agency UK officers loading a suitcase into the back of his car and driving it across Halifax.
The suitcase contained 50 packages of drugs containing 12.5kg of pure heroin with a street value of £1.36 million.
They followed Ahmed to Gibraltar Road, dropping off an unknown man who wheeled the suitcase away. As officers approached the man, who has never been found, ran away. Officers went to the home he shared with his parents, sister and brother at Mayfield Drive.
They found evidence linking Ahmed to the drugs deal including a receipt for the suitcase, bought two weeks earlier, and evidence he had hired a 10 ton machine presser to compress the drugs packages. They also found information Ahmed had tried to rent lock-up space in Huddersfield, which it is thought he would later have used to cut the drugs.
Ahmed, who graduated with a law and accountancy degree from De Montford University, Leicester had worked with Halifax drugs charity Lifeline. Ahmed, who is married, had also run a Department of Health funded project to investigate drug abuse in Halifax. Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court, Recorder Bennett said the offence was made worse because Ahmed knew the negative effects drugs would have on young people.
Ahmed had originally claimed he did not know he had got involved in a drugs scheme. He said another man, Babar Hussain, asked him to drive to Cambridge and collect a suitcase but did not know what was inside.
After the raid, Ahmed went to Hussain. He said he was then taken to Manchester where he was kept against his will for up to two weeks and a gun was put to his head.
He was eventually released by his kidnappers but Ahmed ran, claiming he was scared of what would happen to him.
Three months after the raid, Calderdale CID received a typed letter where Ahmed confessed to possessing the drugs.
Ahmed then spent the next five and a half years on the run, living in Wembley, Perth and Glasgow.
He claimed he had been coerced into the drug deal but his lies unravelled as it was found Ahmed was higher up the chain of command than just being a drugs courier.
His phone number was found in the mobile phone of another drugs dealer who was arrested months afterwards and it was found Ahmed had made three trips to Amsterdam with Hussain.
He was arrested in Harrow, London last October.
It was later discovered while he was on the run, Ahmed had been involved in a Europe-wide drugs deal.
In November 2009, a European arrest warrant was issued in Belgium after he was found guilty of being part of a £11 million drugs deal.
Ahmed later admitted being part of a scheme to organise shipments of heroin through Turkey into the UK.
Two of the deals, which took place between September 2007 and November 2009, included packages of 100kg and 44kg of heroin.
During their investigation, European police raided a home, linked to Ahmed, and found 0.5kg of heroin and 1kg of cutting agents.
He was tried in his absence and sentenced to five years in prison which he will serve at the end of yesterday’s sentence.
Recorder Bennett said: “The most appalling feature of this case is your willingness, with all that knowledge you had of the dangers of drugs in your community and your home town, and the effect they had particularly with Lifeline, that you were prepared to play a significant part in this particular operation which was going to be leading to large amounts of heroin going onto the streets of your home town.” Malcolm Bragg, Assistant Director for the UK Border Agency, said: “Drug smuggling is a vile business that exploits the misery of others for an easy profit. Heroin destroys the lives not only of users, but also their families and the surrounding community.