Two men have been jailed for a total of 32 years after guns, ammunition and silencer were seized in a police operation that began back in 2019

Najeef Saleem aged 45 of Smallbrook Lane, Leigh, was jailed for 22 years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to supply cocaine, and conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Nahidul Monaf aged 36 of Rita Ave, Moss Side, was jailed for ten years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and production of cannabis.

The investigation was launched in 2019 and was further strengthened in 2020 when police received a referral from the NCA of thousands of Encrochat messages.

These were attributed to Saleem, who was using the handle ‘Rafealcaroquintero’ – after the Mexican drug lord, which provided further evidence of his criminality.

Police raided an address on Kingsway, Cheadle. Following an extensive search, and found ltwo self-loading pistols and ammunition hidden in a shed in the garden.

It soon became clear that the occupants of the address were not involved in the conspiracy, rather the gun belonged to a man who was doing building work on their property; Nahidul Monaf also known as Bobby, and his associate Najeef Saleem.

CCTV was recovered from the address which showed the pair accessing the shed on several occasions prior to the warrant, and a forensic examination of the guns was conducted, giving detectives crucial evidence linking Monaf and Saleem to the weapons.

Police returned to the Kingsway address to conduct further searches, in particular, the roof space which was accessible via a hatch. Inside, they recovered another gun, further ammunition, and a silencer.

Whilst this investigation developed, police had a simultaneous operation ongoing into Monaf and Saleem in relation to drugs.

Following a period of surveillance, police had enough evidence to execute warrants at several properties linked to them.

In July 2020, Saleem was arrested at an address on Smallbrook Lane in Leigh.

Police recovered around £30,000 cash, several mobile phones, paperwork, and a set of keys linked to a unit in Cheetham Hill. A radio frequency detector was also seized, which is a device often used by organised crime groups to establish if law enforcement is tracking their vehicles or mobile devices.

Monaf was arrested at an address on Rita Ave in Moss Side, where police found further cannabis plants.

Units in Cheetham Hill where two large cannabis farms were discovered. It was a sophisticated set up with high tech, expensive equipment used to control their product, including dehumidifiers, a ducting system, filters, and a hose system which will have undoubtedly been a huge cost to them.

Messages between April and June 2020 showed Saleem was regularly purchasing and suppling large quantities of class A and B drugs and was involved in the supplying and handling of firearms and ammunition through an established criminal network of contacts spanning the UK and abroad.

Texts saw Saleem trying to buy ammunition in bulk saying ‘250, 300, 500, as many as you can get’, and ‘please I need bad.’ Discussing the ‘sick sprayer’ he had just bought; conversations detailed how two bullets would do the job as long as they didn’t miss. Copious messages sharing images of drugs, cash and firearms were exchanged, and deals were made. Saleem bragged about obtaining further powerful firearms and hand grenades. He was clearly a trusted member of the organised crime group, and he was seen organising the collection of drugs and cash daily.


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