Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Four people sentenced for drug trafficking in Barrow

Four people have been sentenced today (13 November 2012) at Preston Crown Court to over 15 years for their involvement in drug trafficking in Barrow.

Police officers in the Southern Area Serious Organised Crime Unit launched Operation Sonata in February 2011 to investigate drug trafficking in Barrow.

The operation centred around two people, Tracy Wharton and Darren Knowles who both made regular made trips out of the county and into the Lancashire area in order to source heroin and on return, would sell to users in Barrow.

Following a lengthy investigation, Wharton and Knowles were arrested on 12th May 2011 and on arrest both were in possession of heroin.

The other two defendants, Zahir Baz and Shazaad Mahmood came to the attention of Cumbria Police after being stopped in a vehicle which was travelling on the A590 and stopped in Witherslack.

The vehicle was searched and two ounces of heroin was located and in subsequent searches of their properties, more heroin was found.  The estimated street value of the drugs recovered was £16,000

The link between all four defendants was established after a forensic examination of their mobile phones found evidence which showed that Baz was supplying heroin to Wharton and Knowles for distribution in Barrow.  After intensive investigation by the Southern Serious Organised Crime Unit the conspiracy became clear and the supply chain was stopped.

The following prison sentences were imposed:
Darren Knowles received five years 220 days
Tracy Wharton received two years six months
Zahir BAZ sentenced to six years
Shazaad Mahmood sentenced to 16 months

Detective Constable Jamie Eaton, who led the operation, said “This was an intensive investigation which resulted in one of the major supplies of heroin in Barrow being disrupted and removing a substantial amount of drugs from the streets.

“Wharton and Knowles played a pivotal role in the supply of Class A drugs from the Lancashire area into Cumbria. It is our aim to protect the public, quash the supply of drugs and target organised crime across the county.

“This sentence sends out a clear message that drug possession and supply is not tolerated by the police or community in Cumbria and that we will take positive action to bring criminals to justice.”

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