A former taxi driver who was jailed for his part in a professional heroin smuggling operation has been landed with a bill for more than £1 million.
Father-of-three Babar Khan, who used to work for Elland Taxis, was jailed for 15 years in March after a jury found him guilty of being part of a conspiracy to smuggle substantial consignments of the Class A drugs into West Yorkshire.
The 30-year-old, of Blackwood Grove, Halifax, refused to attend a hearing at Bradford Crown Court today (Monday) under the Proceeds of Crime Act and in his absence Judge Jonathan Rose fixed a benefit figure from his offending at £1,186,983.32.
Financial investigators have so far only been able to identify an available asset of £4,000, which relates to Khan’s share of the equity in his home, but now that his benefit figure has been fixed he could be forced to hand over further sums in the future such as any compensation awards or an inheritance.
Khan has been given six months to pay the current amount of £4,000 or he faces serving another six months in jail.
He was one of three Halifax men who were given jail sentences totalling more than 36 years after UK Border Agency officers uncovered the smuggling operation.
The trio were said to have played leading or significant roles in the well-organised operation which saw regular consignments of the Class A drug being delivered to addresses in Halifax over a seven-month period.,
The operation only came to an end after officers at Heathrow Airport intercepted a crate labelled as “handicrafts” from Pakistan and discovered 1.73 kilograms of heroin concealed in the hollowed out wooden struts of the container.
Bradford Crown Court heard that if the 51% pure heroin had been “cut” to street deals it would have been worth an estimated £441,000.
The crate had been destined for a house in Blackwood Grove, Pellon, but instead officers carried out an early morning raid on the premises in May 2012 and arrested Khan.
Inquiries into mobile phone records linked “similar” deliveries to the other addresses in the same area of Halifax in the preceding months.
Prosecutor Stephen Wood said another consignment marked as “dinner set wooden show pieces” had been delivered to an address in Dyson Street, Halifax, back in November 2011 and records showed a further three deliveries between January 2012 and April 2012 to homes in Highfield Terrace, Bowman Terrace and West View.
Judge Rose heard that the other four consignments, which had not been intercepted, could have resulted in heroin worth more than £1 million reaching the streets of West Yorkshire and beyond.
Mr Wood submitted that the heroin smuggling operation, which was running at the rate of almost one consignment a month, would have continued if the crate had not been intercepted at Heathrow.
Judge Rose described heroin as a pernicious and evil drug which blighted the lives of users and had a devastating effect on society.
He noted that Khan, who had no previous convictions, was not himself a heroin user and said his involvement in the conspiracy was the result of greed.
Judge Rose concluded that Khan had played a “leading role” in the conspiracy and was towards the top of the organisation at least in the Halifax area. .
Tasadaq Hussain, 36, of Bowman Terrace, and 28-year-old Imran Muhammed Ali, of Dyson Road, both pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy to import heroin before Khan’s trial got underway.
Hussain, who was a long-standing heroin addict, had links to two of the consignments and had also been involved in “cutting” further quantities of high purity heroin.
He was jailed for a total of 12-and-a-half years after admitting the conspiracy charge and two further offences of possessing heroin with intent to supply.
Father-of-two Ali, who had claimed that he was only going to receive £500 plus one ounce of cannabis for allowing his address to be used for a delivery, was sentenced to nine years in jail after Judge Rose said he had also played a significant role.