A blind university graduate who ‘masterminded’ a conspiracy to supply drugs in Accrington has been jailed.
Rizwan Arshad, 33, was sentenced to 21 years at Leeds Crown Court for his part in three plots to supply Class A drugs.
Arshad was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and pleaded guilty to a further two counts of the same charge including in Accrington.
The court heard that in spite of his disability Arshad ran an operation involving the distribution of heroin and cocaine and massive amounts of cutting agents across the region.
Police observations revealed that Arshad carried out his activities by being driven around by ‘lieutenants’ in a BMW, supplied as part of the ‘Motability’ scheme which helps disabled drivers obtain a vehicle.
Arshad, of Lower Rushton Road, Bradford, was one of six men jailed by Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC for their parts in the ‘sophisticated and planned enterprise.’
Judge Hall told Arshad that his barrister had asked for a discount because of the difficulties he will face in prison through his blindness.
But he said: “That has not prevented you in the past committing offences of deception.
“It has not prevented you achieving degree status at university and it did not prevent your role in these conspiracies.
“It is an indication of your sheer intelligence being at the heart of the essence of these matters.
“It may be incredible to the observer that someone of your undoubted disability was managing to run and managing to co-ordinate and fulfil the needs of such a conspiracy.
“The object was to supply a mass of cocaine or heroin with the aim of enriching you Arshad and those around you.”
Andrew Kershaw, prosecuting, suggested he had a second home in Salford Quays as well as his home in Bradford.
The court also heard that he made at least one trip to Dubai and another to Amsterdam that year while also enjoying a holiday with his wife in Mauritius.
Detective Insp Philip Little said: “The investigations of Arshad and his associates showed him to be the head of an established organised crime group. He will now spend a lengthy period in prison.”