A gang gun dealer – currently serving a 33-year prison sentence – is at the center of an investigation into suspected drug trafficking behind bars.
Tests are currently underway on letters sent to Long Lartin Category A Prison to Mohammed Rafiq Khan.
The sheaves of paper are examined to see if they have been saturated with the mind-blowing medicated spices.
BirminghamLive has learned that a man was arrested last week on suspicion of sending the letters.
Khan, from Bordesley Green, was part of a gang that received combined sentences of over 100 years for supplying the underworld with sawed-off shotguns.
The 32-year-old was also the leader of a “county” mob that distributed Class A drugs across the country.
The prison service declined to comment on allegations of spice smuggling in Long Lartin, near Evesham.
Drug-steeped letters have been a problem in prisons across the country since 2011.
A former lifer explained the methodology.
“The paper is cut into strips and sprayed or smoked,” he said. “But it’s very expensive inside – an A4 sheet can cost £ 350.”
In 2017, Khan and Michael Harkin, of Yardley, were awarded 33 and 25 years respectively for their key roles in the underworld arms supply business.
They were arrested after a joint investigation by the West Midlands Regional Organized Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency, which saw a number of their associates also arrested – including a mother and daughter drug traffickers.
Khan also led a gang of drug dealers who distributed Class A drugs nationwide.
At Birmingham Crown Court, eight of his accomplices have been jailed for over 60 years.
The investigation revealed that John Spencer Booth, a 68-year-old registered gun dealer from Derbyshire, had converted legal guns for Harkin, 58, and Khan by shortening the barrels and removing serial numbers from the guns. hunting rifles.
He was imprisoned for 12 years.
A total of 14 sawed-off shotguns were recovered from the group, and investigation revealed that the gang had distributed over five kilograms of Class A drugs in the West Midlands.
Harkin and his partner Lucy Wilkie were arrested after officers searched their home in South Yardley and recovered three sawed-off shotguns. Wilkie was jailed for eight years.
On January 16, armed officers stopped the car Booth was driving and found 10 sawed-off shotguns and 250 rounds in the trunk.
A search of Booth’s business premises and home address in Ashbourne revealed a workshop and equipment used to shorten barrels and stockpiles of shotguns. A number of cut barrels were found, suggesting that Booth’s work was in progress.
A search of two acquaintances found hunting rifle parts, including sawn off barrels and ammunition. They were jailed for three and a half years, and Kainth received a two-year suspended sentence.
A number of Khan’s drug rings have also been arrested and jailed.
Mother and daughter Anthea and Kareen Bagnall were caught with heroin and crack after being pulled over in a car in Birmingham. They were both imprisoned for nine years.
Joel Martin was jailed for ten years. He was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and heroin. Officers searched his home address and found around £ 15,000 worth of medication.
Mark Jones was found with bags of heroin he was keeping for Khan. He was imprisoned for ten years.
The drug traffickers were responsible for distributing Class A substances from Birmingham to sites on the outskirts of the city, known as the County Lines network.
Over 100 calls a day were made via Khan’s line to drug users in Welshpool, Shrewsbury and Birmingham.
The investigation ended with Khan’s detention at Shrewsbury station in February 2017.
He was found in possession of five cell phones, more than £ 1,500 in cash and tickets to Dubai.
Detective Inspector James Mahon, of the West Midlands Serious and Organized Crime Unit, said after the case: “This was a complex investigation, but one that led to significant prison terms and illegally held weapons and drugs were taken from the streets.
“These converted sawn-off shotguns had the potential to be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands, while drugs can ruin lives and communities.”