Nelson drug dealers jailed after Operation Freight

Shahid Ansar
Shahid Ansar

Three main players in a drugs supply conspiracy have been sentenced to a total of nine years and nine months imprisonment at Burnley Crown Court.

Rockab Afzal (29), of Beaufort Street, Nelson, was given two years and nine months for conspiracy to supply heroin between December, 2011 and April, 2013.

Rockab Afzal

Rockab Afzal

Ishfaq Hussain (25), of Chapelhouse Road, Nelson, was sentenced to four years imprisonment for conspiracy to supply class A drugs between December, 2011 and April, 2013, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of a stun gun.

Hussain was given three years for the drugs conspiracy charge, one year to run consequtive for possession of the stun gun and six months concurrent for possession with intent to supply heroin.

Shahid Ansar (23), of St Paul’s Road, Nelson, was also sentenced to three years at Burnley Crown Court for conspiracy to supply class A drugs between December, 2011 to April, 2013.

Led by the Pennine Division Targeted Crime Unit, officers began an investigation into the supply of drugs in Nelson, Burnley, Brierfield and Accrington in January, 2013, codenamed Operation Freight, targeting Ansar, Afzal and Hussain as the three main suppliers to other drug dealers in the vicinity.

Ishfaq Hussain

Ishfaq Hussain

On August 4th, 2012, Ansar was involved in a car crash and ran away from a vehicle where nine bags of heroin were recovered along with £1,000 in cash and mobile phones which contained the numbers of and interactions between him and known drug dealers and users.

Then, on August 10th, 2012, Hussain’s home was raided. £850 in cash was recovered along with two mobile phones which contained telephone contacts and texts and phone calls between him and known drug users and dealers.

In November, 2012, Ansar and Hussain were detained by police officers and mobile phones were seized, which again contained telephone numbers and evidence of contact between them and known drug users and dealers.

In March, 2013, an address in May Street, Barrowford was raided and Afzal was arrested. £905 cash was seized which was contaminated with heroin. As the house was being raided, Afzal destroyed a mobile phone which contained the numbers of known drug dealers.

On the same day, a car key was also found in Afzal’s personal car, belonging to a gold-coloured 2005 Renault Megane parked in Pilgrim Street, Nelson. Inside the vehicle, 25g of heroin with a street value of £1,400 and 2kg of heroin cutting agent that could be used to increase profit of heroin to the estimated value of £171,000 were found.

In April, 2013 Ansar was arrested again. £1,000 cash was found in his pocket and a further £4,000 was found in a safe hidden in the chimney breast in his loft.

It was later in the year, in August, that Hussain was arrested after a warrant was executed at an address in Bradford. Here, officers found 4g of heroin, crack cocaine, equipment for making crack cocaine, 50g of cutting agent, digital weighing scales, drugs packaging and a stun gun.

Speaking after sentencing, Det. Insp. Neil Marr said: “Today’s result comes at the end of an investigation into three high profile drug dealers that have blighted the streets of Nelson and further afield.

“I hope this serves as a warning to drug dealers that we will find out who you are and put you before the courts to be punished accordingly.

“I am pleased with the sentences given, and can reassure the public they are part of our on-going commitment to taking drugs off our streets.

“We take the public’s drugs concerns seriously, and we will take action.”

The trio will now feature on billboards and leaflets in the Nelson area to highlight the sentences to the communities who were affected by their drug dealing as part of Lancashire Constabulary’s Behind Bars campaign.