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PS229,000 criminal gains of Teesside drug pair.

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court Reporter gareth.lightfoot@eveninggazette.co.uk

TWO top Teesside dealers in a huge drugs network made tens of thousands of pounds from their crimes, a court heard.

Middlesbrough "main man" Majid Khan, 31 - whose barrister once facetiously likened him to Vito Corleone in The Godfather - was back at Teesside Crown Court this week.

He was in the dock with his onetime "right-hand man" Mohammed Akram, 26.

Car wash proprietor Khan is serving a 16-and-a-half-year prison term, Akram 10 years and four months, for conspiring to supply heroin and cannabis.

They were among nine men in a well-organised crime gang jailed for a total of more than 70 years in 2012.

The two men were given confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act this week.

The legislation is designed to make criminals to pay ill-gotten gains to the state.

It was agreed that Khan, of Marton Road, Middlesbrough, made PS189,312 from crime.

He had little money left to hand over - PS119.88 from a bank account and cash already seized by police.

Similarly Akram, of Windsor Road, Middlesbrough, made PS40,000 but had only PS630.

Both men were ordered to pay the smaller amounts of money in 28 days or spend one more day in prison.

They have to pay a tiny fraction of their criminal "benefit" - but the full amount still hangs over their heads like a debt.

The authorities can pursue them in the future if they are found to have money or assets.

Four other men, including three from Middlesbrough, were given Proceeds of Crime orders last August.

In total, the four benefited to the tune of more than PS170,000 and were ordered to pay just over PS5,600 between them, including a nominal order of PS1.

A multi-million-pound heroin network was orchestrated by a "Mr Big" drugs baron from his prison cell via "conference calls", the court had heard.

The plot stretched from Teesside to Greater Manchester and further south to Bedfordshire.

Khan, referred to as "the fat man", headed the Teesside end of the operation and dealt with "bigger boys" in Bedford and Oldham. The crime gang used coded conversations, safehouses, taxis and regularly changed phone numbers to keep their drug trafficking under wraps.

The police smashed the network in "Operation Kestrel" and seized 3kg of heroin, worth about PS300,000, and 1kg of cannabis - though the court heard the trade was worth millions.

In December last year, Khan lost an Appeal Court challenge to his conviction and sentence.

CAPTION(S):

The Gazette' s story in August 2012 when drugs boss Khan was likened to Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Khan and Akram were among a gang jailed for

more than 70 years in 2012. Khan is serving 16 and a half years and Akram 10 years and four months. Both have now been ordered to pay back just a tiny fraction of their criminal gains

'Main man' Majid Khan, above left, and one-time 'right-hand man' Mohammed Akram, above right, had little money left to hand back, a Proceeds of Crime hearing was told
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 26, 2014
Words:515
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