A London gang responsible for bringing more than a kilo of Class A drugs into Aldershot has been jailed for a total of 35 years.
The so called “Smithy Syndicate” believed the Hampshire town would be a soft target to base their drugs operation.
But today that network is in ruins thanks to an extensive police investigation that has spanned almost two years.
The London gang set its sights on Aldershot in August 2016 and over six months operated a concerted and intimidating network that supplied crack cocaine and heroin from the capital, targeting the town’s most vulnerable people.
Today gang’s six members have been sentenced at Winchester Crown Court, having been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
- Omer Shawqi, 22, of Bowden Close, Feltham, who pleaded guilty
- Ahmed Ali Jama, 24, Field Lane, Brentford, who pleaded guilty
- Majid Ali, 20 of Fernymeade Way, Isleworth, who was found guilty at a second trial
- Mohamed Abdiaziz Farah, 22, of Midsummer Avenue, Hounslow, who was found guilty
- Mourad Mohamed, 24, of Midsummer Avenue, Hounslow, who was found guilty
- John Parkinson, 39, of Gordon Avenue, Camberley, who pleaded guilty
The court heard how the drugs line was primarily operated by Shawqi, Jama, Farah and Mohamed, using a dedicated phone number.
Extensive investigations by officers centred around detailed analysis of telephone evidence and CCTV, building a case that has seen them jailed today.
Shawqi, Jama and Ali were the first of the gang to head to Aldershot on August 6, 2016, getting names of Class A drug addicts to build their network.
For the first day they operated from the Travelodge in Alexandra Road, heading out to complete deals with local addicts.
However, within that first 24 hours officers had already arrested one of them.
Police arrested Ali in the Municipal Gardens in Aldershot and was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs after drugs were found in his Travelodge room.
The court told how this led to the other two returning to London, however it was not long until they were back, returning on August 16 with Farah and Mohamed to re-start the drugs line.
This drugs line operated on an almost daily basis for three months but after that their activity became less frequent.
The investigation showed that on most days they operated the line remotely from London, using runners in Aldershot to deliver the drugs.
As the investigation into Ali’s arrest continued to look at who was staying with him at the Travelodge, police arrested Shawqi on September 12.
The court was told that Parkinson was introduced to Mohamed in October 2016, and his home was used as a base for the network to operate from and he began to run drugs for the gang.
Further investigations into the Travelodge led to DNA evidence that identified Jama and he was arrested in late November.
Having the three major players arrested was a huge blow to the network.
And it was as Farah tried to re-establish the ailing drugs line without them that revealed the link between Shawqi, Jama and Ali to the so called ‘Smithy Syndicate’.
It was their own runner, Parkinson, who provided the final blow, calling police because he was being threatened as they tried to force him to use his home as a base once again for their drugs operation.
This led officers of both Farah and Mohamed and both were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in February 2017.
Parkinson was arrested a month later.
Today when sentencing them, Judge Evans QC said this was a “substantial operation”.
Farah was jailed for nine years, Shawqi was jailed for seven years and four months, Jama was jailed for four years and eight months, Mohamed was jailed for eight years and Ali and Parkinson were both jailed for three years each.
DC Matt Dennis said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation that focused on members of a London-based syndicate.
“Most of those involved would travel to north Hampshire to deal heroin and crack cocaine, often to vulnerable people who were dependent on these substances.
“This case demonstrates that we are committed to identifying and tackling those groups that bring so much harm and misery to our towns and cities.
“Within 24 hours of their arrival in Aldershot, we had already arrested one of them and this vital intervention ultimately led to the downfall of their operation.
“I hope this comes as reassurance to those living within these communities and gives residents the confidence to contact us with any concerns regarding drug dealing in their neighbourhoods.”