Drug gang's Birmingham properties worth £17m seized

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Two houses seizedImage source, NCA
Image caption,
A web of 59 properties, mostly in the West Midlands, were seized

A £17m property portfolio bought with "dirty money" by a drugs trafficking gang has been seized and sold.

A web of 59 properties, mainly in the West Midlands, was linked to the group of heroin dealers in east Birmingham.

They included industrial premises, terraced houses and a commercial unit which had been turned into a gym.

Three of the gang's ringleaders and five associates were jailed in 2017 after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

A majority of the addresses uncovered were lets, with 34 in Selly Oak, Birmingham - a popular area with university students.

Three were also found in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

None of the addresses were purchased in the names of the criminals, but the High Court heard they were linked to the proceeds of drug importation and supply, fraud and money laundering.

There is no evidence any of the owners were involved in any criminal activity, the NCA said.

All the seized properties have now been sold or are being sold, with the proceeds split between the NCA and the Treasury.

In July 2014, the NCA's criminal investigation began after Border Force intercepted a shipping container with 165kg heroin - valued at up to £19m - stashed inside industrial equipment.

After a case at Birmingham Crown Court eight men, including Ameran Zeb Khan, of Cobham Road, and his fellow ringleaders, Mohammed Ali, of Wyndcliff Road, and Sajid Hussain, of Fieldhouse Road, all Birmingham, were jailed in July 2017.

Khan, then 38, 37-year-old Ali and Hussain, 32 at the time, each received 22-year jail terms for their part in conspiring to import heroin.

Andy Lewis, from the NCA, said: "Had we not taken all these properties away, the main people sentenced would have come out of prison and had £17m to invest.

"Taking away the money stops them reinvesting in other criminality, or their retirement."

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