Jailed: Whitechapel drugs gang sentenced to 49 years in prison following 'explosion' in heroin and cocaine supply
PUBLISHED: 18:47 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:47 20 August 2018
Judge Nigel Peters QC handed the men prison sentences ranging from two years to 56 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court for possession and supply of class A drugs.
In sentencing two of the 16, Judge Peters said: “People look out of their windows and see drug dealers going about their criminal, evil work oblivious to the residents and workers of the area.
“These are two of a large police operation to try and stem the awful explosion in supply on the streets of Whitechapel of class A drugs.”
Sentenced on Friday were: Habibur Rahman, 22, of Swaton Road; Raja Miah, 23, of Trafalgar Gardens; Jamile Hussain, 24 of Shadwell Garden; Oliur Rahman, 23, of Chapman Street; Rakib Uddin, 19, of Tarling Street; Soliman Rabie, 18, of Hoover Tower; Abu Taher Siddiki, 24, of Galsworthy Avenue; Rohel Ahmed, 31, of Commodore Street; Imthiaz Islam, 21, of Beccles Street; Mohammed Ahmed, 25, of Bacon Street; Rashiq Uddin, 26, of Hazledene Road; Ilford; Enamur Rahman, 22, of Ordell Road; Mohammed Mohibur Rahman, 22, of St Paul’s Way; Ahmadur Rahman, 21, of no fixed address; Abdul Aziz, 39, of Miah Terrace and Akbor Hussain, 24, of Halley Street.
The case against Ruhel Ahmed, 30, of Berner Terrace, was dismissed.
The court heard how the gang operated five phone lines with addicts using BT phone boxes which don’t charge for the first few minutes of calls to arrange deals.
Prosecutor Baba Tunde Alabi calculated the gang would have made £1.28million on the “Biggy line” alone.
In an undercover operation detectives posed as drug users, meeting gang members in Whitechapel streets to pick up wraps of crack cocaine and heroin.
Defence lawyers argued drugs barons exploited the men – some of whom were addicts themselves – forcing them to act as footsoldiers over unpaid debts, “vulnerabilities” or the promise of making a quick fortune.
But Judge Peters argued there were plenty of people in similar situations not dealing.
The court also heard Rabie sped off in a Mercedez G wagon in a 40 mile car chase weaving through traffic at speeds of up to 120mph along the A13, A406, M11 and M25 after police in an unmarked vehicle indicated for him to stop in November last year.
Officers had to ram Rabie – who only had a provisional licence – into a barrier and use CS spray to stop him.
Judge Peters said: “These facts are just horrific.”
Rabie was banned from driving for 42 months.
Det Ch Insp Mike Hamer said: “I am very pleased with the results of this first wave of sentencing.
“Removing these men from our streets is an incredible result for the community. Putting them in jail will severely disrupt the supply of drugs.”
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said: “Our message to drug dealers is clear – we will push for the strongest penalties.”
Before Friday’s sentencing three boys aged 15, 16 and 17 were sentenced after pleading guilty to supplying cocaine and heroin. Abdul Hasnath, 42, of no fixed address, was sentenced to seven years six months for supplying heroin and crack cocaine.
Another 14 men will be sentenced on August 23 while Atefur Rahman, 18, of Cable Street; Mohammed Chowdhury, 18, of Sidney Street and Muhammed Ali Hassan, 25, of no fixed address, will be sentenced at a future date.
Eleven men who pleaded not guilty go on trial later this year.
More than 300 officers were involved in raids with searches of more than 50 addresses during which officers seized over £60,000 in cash, over half a kilo of Class A drugs and four stun-guns.
The jail sentences followed operation Continuum between police Tower Hamlets Council and housing associations.
In total 49 people have been charged in connection with the investigation with 32 men and three male youths having pleaded guilty to over 70 drug offences. More than 300 officers were involved in raids with searches of more than 50 addresses during which officers seized over £60,000 in cash, over half a kilo of Class A drugs and four stun-guns.