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Property empire worth £17million gets seized

Property empire worth £17million gets seized by ‘Britain’s FBI’ after eight-year probe into a drug trafficking kingpins

  • Terraced houses and industrial premises among 59 addresses targeted by NCA
  • Properties were purchased with what investigators described as ‘dirty money’ 
  • More than half in the student area of Selly Oak with others in Northern Ireland

A web of properties worth around £17million has been seized after an eight-year investigation into a drug trafficking gang.

Industrial premises, terraced houses and even a public gym were among the 59 addresses targeted by the National Crime Agency in an inquiry that began in 2011.

Linked to a group of heroin dealers operating in Birmingham, the properties were purchased with what investigators described as ‘dirty money’.

More than half were in the student area of Selly Oak, with others as far afield as Bangor in Northern Ireland. 

None of the addresses was purchased in the name of the criminals and their owners were not necessarily involved in any illicit activity.

Industrial premises, terraced houses and even a public gym were among the 59 addresses targeted by the National Crime Agency in an inquiry that began in 2011. Pictured: One of the seized properties

An NCA official said his team was focused on ‘taking action against the properties, not the people’ in a bid to stop criminality at its source. 

Andy Lewis, the NCA’s head of asset denial, said: ‘What they don’t want to do is have a property portfolio in their own names so if they do get caught they stand to lose that immediately.

‘We started looking at what assets the wider family members had, and we found more and more assets.

‘Had we not taken all these properties away, the main people sentenced would have come out of prison and had £17million to invest. 

Pictured: Ringleader Ameran Zeb Khan

Pictured: Ringleader Ameran Zeb Khan

Taking away the money stops them reinvesting in other criminality, or their retirement.

‘Instead, we used the criminals’ money to reinvest from a bad situation to a good one, deploying our resources against other criminals.’

The NCA said the gang had set its sights on ‘buying up roads, almost’ with two of the properties housing multiple apartments.

The properties were all proven beyond reasonable doubt before a High Court judge to be linked to the proceeds of drug importation and supply, fraud and money laundering.

The NCA was first alerted to the gang’s dealings after a referral from the Police Service of Northern Ireland in December 2011.

The organisation carried out four connected civil recovery investigations into the properties.

In July 2014, a separate criminal investigation was sparked after Border Force officials intercepted a shipping container with 165kg of 58 per cent pure heroin.

Linked to a group of heroin dealers operating in Birmingham , the properties were purchased with what investigators described as 'dirty money'

Linked to a group of heroin dealers operating in Birmingham , the properties were purchased with what investigators described as ‘dirty money’

More than half were in the student area of Selly Oak, with others as far afield as Bangor in Northern Ireland

More than half were in the student area of Selly Oak, with others as far afield as Bangor in Northern Ireland

The huge haul had an estimated street value of up to £19million.

After a court case, eight men including Ameran Zeb Khan and his fellow ringleaders, Mohammed Ali and Sajid Hussain, all from Birmingham, were jailed in July 2017 for a total of 139 years.

The gang had organised two shipments of drugs from Pakistan to London, hiding them among industrial equipment.

All of the seized addresses have now been sold or are being sold, with the proceeds split between the Treasury and the NCA.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk