Drug lord jailed over cocaine plot

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The Independent Online

A drug lord, his brother and two associates were jailed today after a covert police operation smashed their supply network.

Tariq Dad, 43, of Bristol, was jailed for 11 years, Mazar Dad, 41, of Bristol, for nine-and-a-half years, Wakar Shah, 33, of Woodford Green, Essex, for eight-and-a-half years, and Garrie Jones, 36, of Enfield, north London, for seven-and-a-half years.

They were all sentenced at Winchester Crown Court in Hampshire for an offence of conspiracy to supply 1kg (2.2lb) of cocaine in July 2008.

The case was brought after the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) carried out a major operation targeting the Dad brothers.

This involved bugging the defendants and carrying out extensive surveillance and seizing cash and drugs.

The aim was to break up their drug network which had previously supplied the Bristol area with heroin and had moved on to cocaine.

The brothers lived a life of luxury from their illegal gains including owning luxury cars and apartments, with Tariq staying in a seven star hotel in Dubai at a cost of £15,000, according to Soca.

The court heard that Tariq and Mazar were the main organisers behind the conspiracy and they were attempting to purchase "wholesale" quantities of cocaine from London suppliers using Shah and Jones as their intermediaries.

The four defendants ran a "sophisticated" operation involving repeatedly switching mobile phones and holding meetings in open countryside in a bid to evade police surveillance.

But Tariq, who attempted to distance himself from the "dirty work" by acting in a "hands-off advisory role", was caught making telephone calls to Shah.

Mazar's role was organisational and involved making the bulk of the calls, while Shah was involved in purchasing the cocaine.

He was assisted by Jones, described as a "lieutenant", who played a "significant role" by organising couriers.

The court was told that the drugs were taken to Bristol from London by a taxi driver who was ignorant of his role, and who believed he was delivering a supermarket bag of tea and crisps to a patient at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

When the 1kg of cocaine, with a wholesale value of £25,000 but worth three times this amount when sold on the street, was delivered, police swooped and arrested the four defendants.

The court heard that the cocaine was destined for both the "weekend" casual user and to be turned into the highly-addictive form of crack cocaine.

Mazar and Shah pleaded guilty while Tariq and Jones were found guilty following a six-week trial in November 2009.

Mazar also recently pleaded guilty to supplying 21kg of heroin as part of another prosecution and was last month jailed for 12 years. His sentence today will run concurrent with this jail term.

Tariq and Mazar were convicted in 1995 of possession with intent to supply heroin. Tariq was jailed for 11 years and Mazar received a 10-year sentence.

Sentencing the four defendants today, Judge Andrew Barnett condemned what he called a "sophisticated operation".

He said: "It is an extremely serious offence, you must understand that people who get involved in the distribution of class A drugs such as cocaine rightly attract the disapproval of society and consequently a lengthy prison sentence.

"Cocaine is a scourge of this society, it is a life-changing, life-threatening and life-destroying substance."

Speaking to the Dad brothers, he added: "The matter is aggravated by your conviction which occurred in 1995 for a very similar, if not identical, offence, when both of you received substantial custodial sentences."

Following the sentencing, Judge Barnett made arrangements to seize the assets of the four defendants.

Speaking outside court Matt Horne, head of investigations at Soca, said: "Tariq Dad and his network brought misery and violence to Bristol for years.

"He thought he was untouchable, using others to do his dirty work while he lived the high life, but we were watching his every move.

"Prison sentences rarely deter career criminals like Dad.

"Soca is going to make it as hard as possible for him to return to a life of crime by going after his assets and applying for restrictions on travel, access to bank accounts and use of mobile phones."