Two men who used a restaurant in Chester as a base to run their drug deals have been sentenced.
Jaher Ahmed, aged 28, of Linden Grove in Chester received five years and Imran Hussain, aged 26, of Ullswater Crescent in Chester was sentenced to four years and six months for conspiracy to supply cocaine, cannabis and MDMA.
Both men pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 23 July.
Ahmed would collect cocaine, cannabis and MDMA from a house on Cross Street in Sale, travel back to Chester and supply the drugs on to the city’s streets.
While Ahmed ran Spice Balti on Brook Street Chester, he would also use the restaurant as a meeting place to arrange drug deals.
Hussain was a family friend of Ahmed and would regularly meet him at the restaurant. His role was to deal the drugs through the use of mobile phones.
On 11 October 2018 Ahmed and Hussain were stopped by police as they drove through Chester in the early hours of the morning. Cash was found within pockets of Hussain’s clothing totalling £1,500 and cocaine along with two mobile phones were also seized.
Inside the BMW police also recovered a mobile phone and car keys to a Mercedes Benz. Ahmed told police the car he was driving was a rented car and he was delivering food for the restaurant. A search of the Mercedes Benz on Brook Street in Chester saw police seize more cash and cannabis.
At Hussain’s house in Upton, officers found money he said was ‘from the restaurant’ and bags of cocaine and MDMA, which he claimed were for his own personal use.
The arrests sparked a covert seven month operation by Chester Local Policing Unit with support from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit.
In January 2019 police searched Spice Balti, Flavours restaurant on Commonhall Street in Chester, one house on Ullswater Crescent in Chester and a house on Cross Street in Sale.
MDMA with a street value of £31,000 was recovered from the address on Cross Street and in the boot of a VW Golf at Winchester House along with around £45,000 worth of cocaine. At an address on Winchester House police seized £9,000 of cannabis.
In total £33,000 worth of cash was recovered as part of the investigation.
Chief Inspector Carlos Brunes, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Ahmed and Hussain were part of an organised crime group who tried to conceal their drug dealing through the restaurant.
“Our suspicions began when they were arrested in October which sparked several months of covert surveillance to fully uncover their criminal acts.
“Often organised criminals will try to conceal their drug dealing through a business and more often than not are living well above their means.
“I would encourage the public to come forward if they have any suspicions of drug activity similar to the ones carried out by these two men. The local community are our eyes and ears and you can have confidence in us that we will take action when information is passed to us.”