A massive Yorkshire-wide operation targeting serious and organised crime across the region has seen more than 75 kg of drugs taken off the streets, firearms including sub-machine guns seized and 15 men sentenced to a total of more than 115 years in prison.
The operation, led by the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) working in partnership with South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA), was one of the largest in the ROCU’s history.
The specialist unit also recovered ammunition, £250,000 in cash and 50,000 MDMA tablets.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard from the ROCU was the senior investigating officer for the case.
“This operation is a major victory in the fight against serious and organised crime in Yorkshire and beyond."
“Officers seized 20 guns – guns that cannot now be used to cause violence in the communities we serve."
“A huge amount of illegal drugs were also recovered including 9kg of high purity cocaine and crack cocaine and 70kg of class B drugs (including over 6kg of skunk cannabis)."
“Illegal drugs cause untold misery in communities and I am delighted we have taken such a large amount out of circulation."
“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the officers from the ROCU, South Yorkshire Police and the NCA for their painstaking partnership work in bringing these criminals to justice and making the streets of Yorkshire safer."
“A lot of the work to bring these criminals to justice was carried out behind the scenes – so whilst people may not have known our officers were carrying out this vital work – they were.”
DC Dave Clarkson, the Officer in Charge of the Case from the ROCU added:
“This investigation has disrupted an organised crime group that has over the years blighted communities in Sheffield and other areas of the UK. Supplying firearms, ammunition and drugs of all categories has serious negative impacts on communities and public services, ruining lives through drug use and violence that inherently is associated with organised crime. The sentences today I hope will send a message to people who are involved in or are considering becoming involved in the supply of drugs and firearms. Law Enforcement agencies will not stop the hunt for people involved in this criminality and bringing offenders before the courts.”
Nikki Holland, Director of Investigations at the NCA, said: “We’re proud to have supported our law enforcement colleagues on the ground in delivering a significant result against serious and organised crime across Yorkshire."
“All too often, firearms and drugs go hand in hand. They are used by organised crime groups to coerce, intimidate and commit serious violence. Suppressing their availability is a priority for the NCA.
“We are committed to working with partners at a local and regional level to deliver a whole system approach in tackling serious and organised crime.”
Although a regional operation, much of the work centred on Sheffield.
The operation began nearly two years ago on 13 February 2019 when officers started investigating Mohammed Arsalan Hussain, 29, of West View Lane, Sheffield
Sheffield Crown Court later heard how he was the head of a criminal network involved in the large-scale supply of illegal drugs, guns, ammunition and the movement of cash. The network extended across all of the Yorkshire and Humber region and into the West Midlands.
The first public action was on 22 February 2019 when officers raided an address on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield. Inside they recovered a firearm, drugs and cash.
After further investigations armed officers stopped a car on Wolseley Road in Sheffield on 2 March. A loaded K100 automatic pistol was seized and Nashad Khan, 21, of Cromford Street, Sheffield was arrested. He pleaded guilty to firearms offences at Sheffield Crown Court and was sentenced on 20th August 2019 to five years in prison.
Less than a week later on 6 March, Derrick Woods, 41, of Blakeridge Lane, Batley, West Yorkshire and Jack Stretton, 23, of Manor Farm Drive, Leeds were arrested at the Showcase Cinema complex, Batley.
Subsequent searches located 50,000 MDMA tablets, 68kg of Class B Drugs and £100,000 in cash and in May 2020 Woods was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of Possessing Class A and B Drugs and Money Laundering receiving a 14 year prison sentence.
In the same month May 2020 Stretton was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of Possessing Class A and B Drugs and Money Laundering receiving a 14 year prison sentence.
Officers continued to unravel the criminal operation:
- On 15 March specialist search officers found two professional hides within a park area in the Netherthorpe area of Sheffield. A shotgun and a revolver were recovered from the hides.
- On 25 March West Midlands Police stopped a Volkswagen Passat near Birmingham and found ¾ kg of cocaine. The driver – Darryl Wilson, 51, of Lime Grove, Sheffield, an associate of Hussain was convicted of possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply at Birmingham Crown Court in April 2020 and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
- 5 April – An Audi A4 being driven by Aqeeb Hussain, 26, of Napier Street, Sheffield, was stopped on Archer Road, Sheffield. Hidden within the light cluster was 140g of cocaine. Aqeeb Hussain had previously been observed taking 1.5kg of cocaine from a taxi driven by Sajid Fiaz, 35, of Midhill Road, Sheffield, and place it in a Fiat Punto parked outside a property linked to Mohammed Arsalan Hussain. When officers searched the Punto they found 3kg of cocaine and crack cocaine. Aqeeb Hussain admitted conspiracy to supply drugs and was sentenced today (Friday 8 January) to 7 and a half years. Fiaz was sentenced to conspiring to supply cocaine after being convicted at Sheffield Crown Court and sentenced today (Friday 8 January 2021) to 7 years in prison.
A major breakthrough in the operation came on 6 April 2019 when Mohammed Noor, 35, approached an unattended Vauxhall Astra and removed a bag with six guns and ammunition from it and. Class B drugs were found in the car and Shazad Hassan, 23, of Holmhirst Way, Sheffield, admitted conspiracy to supply skunk cannabis.
Noor was arrested on 6th April and officers found in his kitchen and bedroom:
500 grams of crack cocaine, a CZ Sub Machine Gun, a Reactivated Zastava 9mm Pistol, a 357 Magnum Revolver, a Glock 9mm handgun and 2 Self-loading 9mm Pistols. 5 of the guns had a bag containing ammunition attached to the trigger guard.
Noor admitted conspiring to transfer firearms and ammunition as well as possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court 8th January 2021 to 10 and a half years
A Hamza Mohammed, 20, of Staniforth Road, Sheffield admitted possession of the Glock pistol found at Noor’s address and in December 2020 was sentenced to 5 years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court.
On the day that Noor was arrested Mohammed Arsalan Hussain travelled to Heathrow Airport and purchased an airline ticket to Dubai. He was arrested.
- On 15 April 2019, Ethan Hallowes, 20, of Stannington Road, Sheffield (an associate of Mohammed Arsalan Hussain) was stopped in the Upperthorpe area of Sheffield. Officers found class A drugs in the vehicle and he was jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting being in possession of the drugs with intent to supply on 20th June 2020.
- Another associate of Mohammed Arsalan Hussain – Luke Padley, 29, of No Fixed Abode was arrested on 25 April after being seen go to a vehicle on South View Road in which there was 1.2kg of cannabis. Padley is now serving a four and half years custodial sentence for drugs supply.
- On the 3rd May 2019, a search warrant was executed at an address on Otley Walk, Sheffield. A .44 Revolver and 5 rounds of ammunition. An associate of Mohammed Arsalan Hussain, Rodney Bruce, 20 of Otley Walk, Sheffield was arrested and subsequently convicted of Possessing a Firearm and Ammunition and sentenced to 6 years in custody at Sheffield Crown Court on 4th July 2019
- On the 27th May 2019, Derice Cohen and Leon Waite were arrested from a vehicle in Sheffield containing a sawn-off shotgun. They were both convicted of a firearms offence and received 4 year and 6 year long custodial sentences respectively.
- The operation didn’t end with the charging of Mohammed Arsalan Hussain on 8 May 2019. An innovative forensic technique used to examine the reactivated Zastava 9mm pistol saw eight further guns including an AK47 Assault Rifle, Mach 10 Machine Pistol and an ammunition press recovered.
DCI Howard added:
“This was an investigation on a massive scale which saw three law enforcement agencies - the ROCU, NCA and South Yorkshire Police work together to bring Mohammed Arsalan Hussain and his criminal empire crashing down.
“On the 8 May 2019 Mohammed Arsalan Hussain was charged with various firearms and drugs offences and today he was sentenced to over 27 years for what he did. He now has a long time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions.”
Full details of the offenders:
- Mohammed Arsalan Hussain, 30, of West View Lane, Sheffield, admitted: Conspiracy to sell or transfer a sub machine gun, Conspiracy to sell or transfer 4 viable 9mm pistols and a magnum 44 revolver, Conspiracy to sell or transfer 184 rounds of ammunition, Conspiracy to supply crack cocaine, Conspiracy to supply cocaine x 2, Conspiracy to supply 4 kilograms skunk cannabis and Conspiracy to transfer criminal property x 2, namely £74,000 and £44,000 of drugs contaminated cash. He was sentenced to a total of 27 and half years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th January 2021.
- Mohammed Noor, 35, of Abbeydale Road, admitted: Conspiracy to sell or transfer a sub machine gun, Conspiracy to sell or transfer 4 viable 9mm pistols and a magnum 44 revolver, conspiracy to sell or transfer 184 rounds of ammunition and Possession of 500 grams of crack cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 10 and a half years at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th January 2021.
- Aqeeb Hussain, 25, of Napier Street, Sheffield admitted Conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th January 2021.
- Shazad Hassan, 23, of Holmhirst Way, Sheffield, admitted conspiracy to supply skunk cannabis. He was sentenced to 15 months at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th January 2021.
- Sajid Fiaz, 35, of Midhill Road, Sheffield, was found guilty of Conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to seven years at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th January 2021.
- Derice Cohen, 19, of Birch House Avenue, Oughtibridge was sentenced to four years at Sheffield Crown Court in November 2019 after being found guilty of possession of a loaded firearm.
- Leon Waite, 22, of Denholme Close, Sheffield was sentenced to six years at Sheffield Crown Court in November 2019 after being found guilty of possession of a loaded firearm.
- Rodney Bruce, 20, of Otley Walk, Sheffield, was found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court, 4th July 2019, of possessing a firearm and ammunition and sentenced to six years.
- Ethan Hallowes, 20, of Stannington Road, Sheffield, admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply at Sheffield Crown Court on 20th June 2020. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
- Nashad Khan, 21, of Cromford Street, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to firearms offences at Sheffield Crown Court and was sentenced on 20th August 2019 to six years in prison.
- Darryl Wilson, 51, of Oaks Fold Avenue, Sheffield was found guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to supply at Birmingham Crown Court in November 2019 and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
- Hamza Mohammed, 20, of Staniforth Road, Sheffield, admitted possession of the Glock 9mm pistol found at Noor’s address and was sentenced to 5 years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court on 8th December 2020.
- Derrick Woods, 41, of Blakeridge Lane, Batley, West Yorkshire was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of possessing class a and b drugs and money laundering and sentenced to 14 years in prison (May 2020)
- Jack Stretton, 23, of Manor Farm Drive, Leeds also received a 14 year prison sentence after being convicted of possessing class a and b drugs at Leeds Crown Court in May 2020.
- Luke Padley, 29, of No Fixed Abode admitted possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs and was sentenced to 54 months 4 and half years in prison on 31 January 2020.
For more details on this case please see this short video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZsuFD4Bg9Q