‘British FBI’ Bust Pakistan Heroin Ring, Seize 59 Properties Worth £17m

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Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized some 59 properties worth an estimated £17 million after busting an organised crime ring importing massive quantities of heroin into Britain from Pakistan.

The serious and organised crime focused law enforcement agency, roughly equivalent to America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), got ringleader Ameran Zeb Khan and seven other men in the dock for sentencing in July 2017 after a years-long investigation kicked off by UK Border Force discovering a 165 kilos (over 360 pounds) of uncut heroin concealed in a shipment of industrial lathes.

The NCA boasts in an official statement that the Birmingham-based criminals “were imprisoned for a total of 139 years and four months” — although, as is often the case with reports on British sentences, this is misleading, as adding up multiple sentences across multiple people, some of which individuals may be intended to serve concurrently, tells the public little about how long anyone will actually serve in custody, particularly as it is standard for convicts in Britain to be automatically released on licence halfway or two-thirds of the way through their terms.

Possibly more effective are the civil recovery investigations the NCA has been conducting over almost a decade into “dozens of individuals who were suspected of financial links to [the] drug dealers in East Birmingham”, leading to the seizure of the dozens of mostly private residential properties.

The NCA found that the drug dealers “would use family members and wider associates to hold properties on their behalf… to conceal and launder the proceeds of their unlawful conduct”, with income being generated from properties rented out in Birmingham, Bangor in Northern Ireland, and a gym named Rampage Fitness.

The NCA now reports that it has sold off all but one of the properties, with the proceeds being  “paid into the public purse” in a move its Head of Asset Denial, Andy Lewis, described as “display[ing] the power of civil investigations working in tandem with criminal ones to take high harm organised crime groups down.”

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