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A judge has praised a committed detective for his work as she jailed five gang members for a combined 18 years.
Brian William, Hashi Abdi, Oussema Oubari, Munta Hoque and Azman Ahamad were members of a group known as the Mali Boys.
Each of the men were involved in supplying Class A drugs into south Essex.
Sentencing the group at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, Her Honour Judge Samantha Cohen praised the work of Op Raptor South Detective Constable Dan Brand, describing the case he built as one of “excellent police work”.
On September 9 last year, officers stopped a silver Ford Focus travelling to Southend on the A127 at Dawes Heath Road.
As a marked police car blocked the Focus, officers from another vehicle ran towards the car and saw a man throw a bag of Class A drug wraps into the central reservation.
Another man left the car and ran off from officers, jumping over the central reservation into oncoming traffic.
But he was caught and was identified as Azman Ahamad while three others were detained in the car.
A large amount of Class A drugs was recovered from a pocket in the front passenger seat.
After liaising with the Metropolitan Police Service, a warrant was executed in Norwich Crescent, in Romford.
During that, Hashu Abdi was arrested and £3,470 in cash was seized from the living room alongside seven mobile phones and just under 3,000 bottles of prescription medication which was being used to mix with the Class A drugs.
A second warrant was executed nearby at an address linked to Abdi, in Oak Street, Romford, where scales and other drugs paraphernalia alongside a sports bag containing two large plastic bags containing a quantity of Class A drugs.
William, 20, of Park Avenue, in Barking, Abdi, 27, of Gresley Close, Leicester, Hoque, 19, of Lyndhurst Gardens, Ilford and Ahamad, 20, of Constance Street, Silvertown, London were all charged with conspiracy or being concerned in the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine.
Oubari, 21, of Lucas Avenue, London, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, crack cocaine.
All denied the charges but were found guilty by a jury after a two-week trial.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Abdi was jailed for a total of five years and one month, Ahamad was jailed for two years and seven months, William and Hoque for three years and six months and Oubari for three years and three months.
Detective Inspector Scott Fitzmaurice, who leads the Op Raptor South team, said: “These cases are complex and require incredible diligence from officers to ensure not only a quick charge when we arrest suspects but also to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they are guilty of those charges.
“DC Brand wholly deserves the kind comments from Her Honour.
“In this case, these men thought they were above the law by lying to us about their roles and denying they played any part in drug supply in south Essex.
“Thankfully the jury saw through the lies and they will now spend time in jail – and everything we seized will be forfeited and destroyed, meaning a sizeable amount of Class A drugs are now off the streets.”