Northampton drug dealer who acted as organised crime group's 'cocaine wholesaler' jailed for five years

Gang's 'customer' operated in the town using encrypted phones to set up secret meets

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 2:15 pm
Northampton dealer Ali Zarei (centre) has been jailed alongside brothers Ajmal and Ansar Akram (left) and (right) Jameel Khan and Sarfraz Asif

A cocaine dealer who acted as an organised gang's 'regional wholesaler' operating in Northampton has been jailed for five years and four months.

Ali Zarei, aged 27, of Derngate, was one of six men from an OCG hunted down by a police special operations unit which netted 6.5kg of cocaine.

Officers also seized in excess of £150,000 cash — thousands of it found stuffed into an old Tesco carrier bag.

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Police found thousands of pounds stuffed into a Tesco carrier bag

St Albans Crown Court heard Zarei was a customer of the gang which arranged meets using covert, encrypted devices intended to be hidden from the police.

Couriers travelled in and around Northampton from the gang's base in Hemel Hempstead.

One courier, 40-year-old Sarfraz Asif of Dordans Road, Luton, was a regular on trips to the town. He was also jailed for four-and-a-half years at a hearing on Monday (September 6).

Another courier Jameel Khan, 27, from Nottingham, was also jailed for 10 years after all three pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

Detective Inspector Ian Mawdesley, from ERSOU's Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “These men played significant roles in distributing cash and cocaine across the country. Put simply, the criminal enterprise wouldn’t have worked without them.

“Between them they have moved multiple kilogrammes of drugs and hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash, and in doing so spread misery far and wide. They were key cogs in the OCG and their sentences reflect this.

“Our detectives have worked incredibly hard to bring this criminal organisation down, and intelligence gathered throughout this investigation is already helping policing colleagues across the country tackle further criminal offending.

"In addition to these sentences, our financial investigators will also use Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation wherever possible to ensure those making money through illegal activity such as drug dealing are forced to repay their illicit gains.”

The trio acted as cash and drugs couriers for the gang – led by brothers Ansar and Ajmal Akram, who were jailed for 15 years and 14 years respectively last month.

A sixth man, Ryan Brockley, from Leicester, was also jailed for five years on 9 August.

Police used specialist surveillance officers to track the gang's movements over a six-month period in 2019 as they distributed substantial amounts of cocaine at a time, often selling to other localised OCGs for onward sale.

Khan’s role was as a trusted drug and cash courier, with detectives proving he had transported goods on 16 separate occasions, often returning with bags of cash in excess of £70,000 to hand directly to the OCG's leadership.

He was trusted with an encrypted phone to liaise with the Akram brothers directly and is thought to have made significant sums for his part in the network.