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Black Country drug dealer ordered to repay £188,000 or have 11-year sentence increased

By Thomas Parkes | Wednesbury | Crime | Published:

A Black Country drug dealer has been ordered to pay back £188,000 or have his prison term extended.

Clockwise from top left: Azim Thakur, Shaymas Ulhaq, Jamie Hadley, Mobasser Hussain-Ali, Narinder Kandola, Sundeep Kandola

Sandeep Kandola, from Wednesbury, is serving an 11-year sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs three years ago.

He and his brother Narinder were among 15 people jailed for a combined total of 101 years in June 2016 for being part of a drugs gang supplying heroin, cocaine and cannabis on an "industrial scale" in the Birmingham area.

And at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, six members of the network were ordered to pay back a combined £280,031 or face extended jail terms under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Mortgage account

Despite not being the leader of the operation, Kandola was found to have the most criminal cash and must now repay £188,000 within three months

The 37-year-old lived between properties in Wednesbury and Edgbaston and had large sums of cash transferred into his mortgage account.

That money was used to pay off the mortgage for a property in Wednesbury which was later rented out, generating £55,000 income.

Mobasser Hussain-Ali, aged 34 and from Lozells, was also found to have £82,000.

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The remainder was found between 35-year-old Shaymus Ulhaq, of Handsworth, 34-year-old Azim Thakur, of Edgbaston, 38-year-old Narinder Kandola, of Edgbaston, and 27-year-old Jamie Hadley of Erdington.

Jewellery and cash

Between them the six men were sentenced to just over 58 years in prison, with four of them still serving time behind bars.

During the police investigation, Ulhaq was identified as the kingpin of the network, which officers proved had operated for at least 14 months from March 2014 to May 2015.

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He oversaw six cannabis grows, including one with a £150,000 yield operating from the back of a tyre firm in Erdington, and managed a group of drug runners and farmers.

When officers stopped the 32-year-old in a car in July 2014 he was wearing a diamond encrusted ring and a jewel-laden Audemars Piguet watch, while £1,000 in cash was found in one of his pockets.

Meanwhile one of the most notable raids saw officers uncover a drug dealing factory, including 50 wraps of heroin and blocks of crack cocaine, at the Kandola's house in Edgbaston.

Multiple cannabis factories were also found in Erdington, Kingstanding and Handsworth, while a flat in Hockley was used as a drugs safe house.

'Not the end of police enquiries'

Detective Constable Rob Gough, from the financial investigation unit at West Midlands Police, said: "Drugs cause untold misery in our communities and we’re determined to ensure those involved in supplying them would not benefit from their ill-gotten gains.

"Despite members of the gang already being jailed we carried out a complex investigation into their finances which spanned almost four years.

"This has now seen a substantial amount of money identified for seizure and proves that crime doesn’t pay.

"A jail term does not mean the end of our enquiries."

All of the money recovered will be used to fund community projects.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: “This police operation has proved to be highly successful.

“West Midlands Police has brought members of an organised drug gang to justice, making our streets safer and helping to disrupt a network of criminals who were causing untold misery in our region.

“What’s more, the smart financial investigators have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to recover more than a quarter of a million pounds.

"Much of that money will now be reinvested in community initiatives designed to reduce crime throughout the West Midlands."

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Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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