Members of £165m East Midlands drugs gang ordered to repay over £750,000
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Members of a gang who imported more than £165 million of cocaine into the country have been ordered to repay over £750,000.
The 21-strong group used encrypted Encrochat phones to arrange the ordering of multiple kilos of high-purity cocaine from Dubai, and to keep in touch with suppliers about how much money was being made.
On Thursday 25 January 2024, a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing took place when Michael Karim was found to have benefited by £1,078,992.04, with an available amount of £377,423.81.
The 38-year-old, who lived in Nottingham before he was jailed for ten years, rented two apartments at a cost of nearly £91,000 and shopped at Harvey Nichols and Flannels. He also spent thousands on airfares to Las Vegas and across Europe to watch football matches, as well as renting 46 luxury cars at a cost of nearly £250,000.
On Monday 29 January at a separate hearing, Basharat Iqbal was found to have benefitted by £166,253.45 with an available amount of £144,553.81.
The 48-year-old, and his younger brother Banaras, both of whom lived in Derby, were taxi drivers who couriered cash and class A drugs across the country. Basharat was jailed for seven years and nine months for his links to the conspiracy.
In November, Banaras, 44, was found to have benefitted by £252,650.59 with an available amount determined at £169,192.45. He had been jailed for four years and nine months for a money laundering offence.
DS Tom Bentley from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) said: “These are strong examples of the true purpose of POCA in ensuring offenders do not continue to benefit from a lifestyle fuelled by crime.
“I’d like to acknowledge the work of our financial investigators who work tirelessly to squeeze all they can from those who exploit and enable addiction in others, and the societal damage it causes, for their own personal gain.”
A fourth man was also ordered to repay £70,000 in November for his involvement in the conspiracy.