A prolific drug dealer who played a ‘leading role’ in a £230,000 drug and money laundering operation is set to face at least seven years behind bars.
Mahmoud Jaber, of Arncliffe Avenue, Accrington, liaised with crime organisation boss Zahid Khan to receive nearly 500g of cocaine in March 2015.
The drugs were part of a wider supply network being operated by Khan around the North West.
Preston Crown Court heard how police stopped a car delivering Jaber’s cocaine on the M65.
The class A drugs had a purity of 70 per cent and a street value of up to £39,600. The court heard Khan’s ‘trusted associate’ Mohammed Akhtar was also involved in the movements of the cocaine to Jaber.
On the day of the delivery he was overheard on the phone in a Lidi supermarket saying ‘Do you know Jaber? You know it’s a small world ours. I thought you might know Jaber. He’s from Accy. He says he’s okay’.
Jaber, 33, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, after a re-trial. The court heard how the defendant has nine previous convictions for 15 offences including possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin in 2004, possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin in 2010 and two money laundering offences in 2013.
Martin Reid, prosecuting, told the court how Jaber is now ‘subject to the mandatory minimum sentence of seven years’ with a sentencing range of nine to 13 years.
He told the court: “[Jaber] played a leading role in the movement of those drugs and liaised directly with Zahid Khan. He was in contact with him both before and after the exchange and was involved in directing or organising the purchase of class A drugs on a commercial scale for that deal.
“He travelled to Preston on more than one occasion to meet with Khan.”
Khan, 40, of Albert Tarrace, Preston, and Akhtar, 44, of Ashleigh Street, Preston, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.
Khan also admitted another charge of conspiracy to supply heroin.
Six other men are also facing sentence relating to other parts of drugs and money laundering operation following Operation Hombre - an investigation by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit.
Robert Smith, defending, said Jaber is now ‘dreading’ the prospect of being deported back to Palestine.
He told the court: “He was not involved throughout the entirety of the conspiracy. Plainly he had an operational function on the Accrington end of this dealing. There are aggravating features.
“This will be his third such offence of drug trafficking and he was on licence at the time of the offence. Some of his siblings have positions of real responsibility and therefore this defendant is very much the exception rather than the norm in his family.
“He wants me to say this on his behalf that he is terrified at the prospect of being deported to Palestine, his country of origin.
“That is perhaps an almost inevitable consequence of his conviction for this offence and the sentence that your honour will pass. It fills him with absolute dread.”
Jaber is expected to be sentenced on Thursday.