Drugs gang jailed over £6m heroin haul inside furniture
A gang that smuggled heroin with a street value of £6m inside a shipment of furniture has been jailed.
Hafiz Akhtar, 34, Mohammed Yaqub, 34, and Abdul Wahid, 37, were sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
The consignment was found inside a shipping container sent from Pakistan to Royal Seaforth Docks in Liverpool in April 2012.
The class A drug was found concealed in boxes of tables, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
Investigators watched as furniture was delivered to Yaqub at a storage unit in Hendon Mill in Nelson as Yaqub and Wahid unloaded it.
Sentences in full:
- Hafiz Akhtar, 34, of Leeds Road, Dewsbury was found guilty of being knowingly concerned in the importation of class A drugs and was sentenced to 15 years
- Mohammed Naiem Yaqub, 34, of Castle Street, Nelson admitted being knowingly concerned in the importation of class A drugs and was sentenced to 11 years and six months
- Abdul Wahid, 37 of Charles Street, Nelson admitted conspiring to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to seven years
Part of the consignment was later loaded into a hired van driven by Akhtar, 35, who drove it to another storage unit in Leeds.
A search of both storage units uncovered a haul of 28.5kg (63lb) of heroin, with a likely street value of £6m, the NCA said.
Regional Director of Border Force North Region Tony McMullin said: "This was an intricate concealment but thanks to the vigilance of our Border Force officers in Liverpool we helped stop these dangerous drugs finding their way to the streets of the UK."