The court heard how on a weekly basis, between March 2018 and March 2019, Faisal Nawaz, Qaisar Nawaz and Yusuf Meah would obtain an assortment of both class A and class B drugs – including cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis – from their criminal associates based in London, Oxford and Birmingham.
Once the drugs were received, the trio stored them in a Ford Focus stash car to avoid the drugs being detected and seized. They regularly visited a safe house in Burnage – occupied by Nicola Kieran – where the drugs were packaged and stored before being distributed by street dealers – Kane O’Connor, Aidan Jones and Drew Downes.
Casey Townsend was frequently present with Faisal Nawaz when collecting drugs from the stash car and during drug deals.
Faisal Nawaz, Qaisar Nawaz and Meah controlled four separate drug telephone lines and took phone orders for drugs which the street dealers would then deliver, using stolen cars and regularly visiting the stash house to collect the drugs and deposit the proceeds of the sales.
These exchanges of cash and drugs between the street dealers and the safe house were made by both Nicola Kieran and Connor Kieran.
Both O’Connor and Jones would receive text messages from Louise Krossey informing them of vehicle registration plates they could clone and use on the stolen cars, as well as warning them when police were in the area.
In December 2018, police seized the Ford Focus from Waller Avenue, Fallowfield which contained both class A and class B drugs with an estimated street value of £15,000.
Following the seizure of the car, Faisal Nawaz, Qaisar Nawaz and Meah discarded their telephone numbers and relocated to Manchester City Centre where they continued to operate the drug lines. Investigators established that Faisal Nawaz and Meah were living in an apartment that had been leased to them under a false name by Lois Chubb who was working as a letting agent at the time.
In March 2019, the group’s activity was put to an abrupt end when officers arrested nine of the eleven offenders in co-ordinated raids at seven different addresses across Manchester and Cheshire.
O’Connor who was already serving a sentence for aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, unlawful wounding and driving whilst disqualified, was produced from prison for interview and the 11th offender – Aiden Jones – was later arrested in July 2019 in Eccles.
During the operation a number of drugs were seized with an estimated street value of £40,000, and analysis of the billing data for the four drug lines estimated an annual turnover for the group of between 1.5 and three million pounds.
Detective Inspector Melanie Johnson, from the Programme Challenger Team said: “The eleven people sentenced here today are a brazen group of criminals who thought they were above the law and beyond detection. The decision at today’s hearing comes as a result of months of hard work by GMP’s officers and is a testament to the dedication of the entire Operation Telegram team.
“The severity of their offences should not be underestimated and I hope this serves as a deterrent to those people who wish to pursue this illicit line of work that we will do all that is within our power to bring such criminals to justice.
“Continuing to tackle the influx of drugs in the area will remain a top priority for GMP and we will do all we can to stop such offending. However we cannot do this alone and I would appeal directly to the community to please come forward with any information that could assist us in what continues to be an ongoing operation.”