A drugs gang which supplied cocaine across East Lancashire have been jailed for more than 30 years.

The six men from Great Harwood, Accrington and Nelson, were convicted following an intensive police investigation into county lines drug dealing and were sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on Monday.

In November 2022, Anthony Zia was stopped driving his vehicle in Colne and was found to have multiple wraps of cocaine stuffed down his pants.

Further enquiries revealed Aqib Mushtaq as the man directing Zia; telling him where to go, how much cocaine to deliver and who to deliver it to.

Aqib was then arrested in February 2023 and released under investigation.

Meanwhile, an Ali/Dev drugs line was seized in Accrington, which was shown to be working in partnership with other drugs lines, namely Oxy, Baz and Escobar.

An investigation showed an organised approach to drug dealing, with each of the lines communicating with one another to forward customers on, dependent upon their location.

Each line had ownership of districts, and if they received orders from customers within another district, they would then contact the respective drugs line to complete the order.

In advertising their drug lines, the holders of the phones would encourage customers to pay via bank transfer.

Specifically, they would ask customers pay into a bank account under the name of Adnan Ishafaq.

It was discovered Ishafaq would in turn transfer large sums of money to his brother, Mohammed Rizwan.

In July 2023, following raids, Wahid Hussain, Mushtaq, Ishafaq, Rizwan and Aydan Hussain were arrested.

Police also seized 22 phones, £22,693 in cash and more than 170 street deals of cocaine, valued at just under £6,000.

At Burnley Crown Court, the gang received the following sentences:

  • Aqib Mushtaq, 25, of Hendon Road, Nelson, was jailed for 11 years and eight months;
  • Adnan Ishafaq, 19, of St Edmund St, Great Harwood, was sentenced to four years and three months;
  • Mohammed Rizwan, 33, of St Edmund St, Great Harwood, received nine years;
  • Anthony Zia, 26, of Smith St, Nelson, was handed three years;
  • Aydan Hussain, 24, of no fixed abode, was jailed for three years.

The investigation was led by the Pendle Task Force.

Wahid Hussain, 35, of HMP Preston is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Inspector James Hesketh, from the Pendle Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “I welcome these sentences which I hope will serve as a deterrent to those involved in the illegal drug trade.

"We will continue to relentlessly target anyone who seeks to profit from the supply of drugs in our communities, often preying upon & profiting from the most vulnerable members of our communities, and I would ask for anyone who has any information about drug dealing in their area to get in touch so we can take action.”

Police said they still need to speak to Wasim Ali, 34, of Accrington, in relation to the investigation.

Anyone who may have information can call 101, online or can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.