AN ACCRINGTON drug dealer who ran the biggest drugs gang East Lancashire's has ever seen has been told by a judge that he must pay back almost £152,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Naheem Nazir, aka `NEZ`, 41, of Stonecross Close, Accrington was targeted during an operation aiming to seek out those responsible for the large scale supply of cocaine and `crack` cocaine.
Officers from the Eastern Division Targeted Crime Unit specifically targeted Nazir's drug network known locally as the `NEZ`.
Police believe his gang supplied almost all the cocaine and crack-cocaine available on the streets of Blackburn and Hyndburn area.
They were selling up to £40,000 worth of drugs each week, and in one raid, a safe containing 3kg of cocaine, worth £146,000, was found.
Estimates the gang turned over in excess of £1.6million were investigated by the Eastern Division Financial Investigation Unit following the arrests of 17 dealers.
As ringleader Nazir, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty.
The court heard he had run the gang like a business, using threats of violence to keep those working for him under control.
A POCA confiscation hearing was held at Preston Crown Court last Friday and Nazir was found to have benefited from his criminal activities to the value of £500,000.
The Court agreed that this his available assets included cash and a house in Spain. As a result he has been ordered to pay £151,940 within six months or serve an additional period of two years and four months in default and a still have to pay the money on his release, plus interest.
Detective Sergeant Kathryn Cussans from Lancashire Constabulary Financial Investigation Unit said: "Criminals like Nazir who enjoy a lifestyle of expensive cars, large houses and holidays abroad will always find themselves before a judge.
"By targeting the profits of crime we send a clear message that crime most certainly does not pay and when Nazir does leave prison he will have little to come home to. "