Drugs gang flooded Welsh university town with heroin
THE young leader of a drugs gang which flooded the university town of Aberystwyth with heroin was jailed for seven-and-a-half years yesterday.
Haroon Amir, 20, who because of his age will serve the first few months of his sentence in youth custody, commanded a network of dealers, Robin Rouch told Swansea Crown Court.
The close friends, both from Wolverhampton, had denied charges of possessing heroin with intent to supply and money laundering. They were convicted earlier this year by a jury.
The court heard Amir hit on the idea of supplying heroin from Wolverhampton to Aberystwyth where previously there had been a “paucity of supply”.
Mr Rouch said Amir kept a close watch on the drugs operation.
A major Dyfed-Powys Police operation began after several people doing heroin “street deals” were arrested in cars or on trains coming to Wales from Wolverhampton. They had all been heading for Aberystwyth.
Mr Rouch said: “It soon became clear that a new gang had moved into town.”
The court heard that cash from street deals in Aberystwyth was deposited into accounts at the Lloyds TSB and Abbey National branches in the town.
Then, after texts or phone calls, “almost simultaneously” the same amounts would be withdrawn in bank branches in Wolverhampton.
Other members of the gang are due to be sentenced later this week but Judge Huw Davies QC said yesterday he was satisfied it was Amir who played the leading role with Shah having an “operational management” role.
He described Shah, who was arrested in the foyer of Aberystwyth’s Marine Hotel in February 2010, as Amir’s chief lieutenant.
The judge said Shah stopped his involvement in drugs after the arrest but Amir continued to lead the supply operation after his arrest around the same time.
Judge Davies said Amir was “undeterred” by the arrest and he began “bringing in substitutes” for suppliers and other who were arrested. He said it was not until June 2010 that Amir’s activities in Aberystwyth were finally brought to an end.
The judge said the supply of heroin had a “pernicious effect” on the community in Aberystwyth, a university town.
He said: “The damage done by heroin all too often is damage done to young people, marking their lives for a very long time.”
The court heard both defendants had histories of possession of cannabis.
The judge said as part of the operation, a woman went to Aberystwyth from Wolverhampton by train and was arrested with 134 £20 street deals of heroin. And a man was arrested taking the same route by train with 181 street deals of heroin on him.
Mr Rouch said Amir travelled to Aberystwyth when police began arresting street dealers.
The court heard that since being given bail after his arrest, Shah’s character had changed and he was a hard-working employee at his uncle’s restaurant in Wolverhampton where he had risen to the role of manager.