Birmingham gang bosses jailed for smuggling drugs in frozen chicken

29 November 2019, 08:51 | Updated: 29 November 2019, 12:03

The pair have been sentenced to 44 years in prison between them
The pair have been sentenced to 44 years in prison between them. Picture: National Crime Agency
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

Two members of a Birmingham organised crime group who used frozen chickens to smuggle drugs into the UK have been jailed.

Wasim Hussain and Nazrat Hussain set up a series of front companies involved in the importing of chicken to the UK from the Netherlands.

However, the real purpose of the companies was to import millions of pounds worth of class A drugs to the UK.

On several occasions, heroin and cocaine worth around £5 million was seized hidden in chicken shipments.

The National Crime Agency identified 16 chicken shipments containing class A drugs between 2016 and 2017.

Following each seizure, the men set up a new company with a new name to try and cover their tracks.

The men would use genuine shipping companies to move frozen chicken loads from Rotterdam to distribution hubs when the chicken would be collected by gang members.

Millions of pounds of drugs were smuggled in chicken.
Millions of pounds of drugs were smuggled in chicken. Picture: National Crime Agency

Following the police interception of first two chicken shipments and the arrest of two gang members, the gang switched tactics.

They employed the services of two corrupt baggage handlers to collect three kilos of cocaine off a flight from Brazil to Heathrow, all while continuing to smuggle drugs in their chicken shipments.

They also recruited Mohammed Shabir, a Birmingham-based meat supplier, to help.

In June 2017 another shipment was dispatched from the Netherlands, but when it arrived in Birmingham minus the drugs the group knew they had been caught.

Wasim Hussain rang his main Dutch criminal contact in panic, telling him “throw your phone, throw everything, throw the SIM away.”

The two men were arrested shortly after.

Nazrat Hussain pled guilty to three counts of conspiring to import class A drugs.

Brothers Manjinder Singh Thakhar and Davinder Singh Thakhar, along with Mohammed Shabir also all pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group.

Following a five week trial at Birmingham Crown Court Wasim Hussain was found guilty of conspiring to import a class A drug.

On Friday Nazrat Hussain was sentenced at the same court to 29-and-a-half years in prison, while Wasim Hussain was jailed for 14 years and four months.

Mohammed Shabir, Manjinder Singh Thakhar and Davinder Singh Thakhar will also be sentenced on 23 January 2020.

The drugs were smuggled from the Netherlands
The drugs were smuggled from the Netherlands. Picture: National Crime Agency

Colin Williams, the NCA Branch Operations Manager, said: “Throughout the course of this investigation, which has gone on for more than three years, we have systematically dismantled an organised crime group that was involved in the importation and distribution of class A drugs across the West Midlands.

“As well as drugs, the gang also attempted to source firearms, presumably to be used to threaten others in support of their criminality.

“The investigation has uncovered links to criminal networks in London and the Netherlands, and our partnership with the Dutch police was crucial.

He continued: “We worked our way through the group until we managed to reach the two men at the very top, Wasim Hussain and Nazrat Hussain.

“As we have shown in this case, the NCA will use the full range of its capabilities to comprehensively target and disrupt those involved in organised criminal activity.

“In total more than 98 years of jail sentences have been handed out, and with these men behind bars communities in the West Midlands and beyond are safer.”

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