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Organised crime gang members who peddled drugs across UK – including Christchurch – are jailed for more than 30 years

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THREE members of an organised crime gang which peddled cocaine across an area stretching from Middlesbrough to Christchurch have been jailed for more than 30 years.

Wasim Afzal (44), Ashan Mahmood (49) and Ben Lewis (29) are the latest members of an organised crime gang to have been incarcerated.

Appearing before St Albans Crown Court, Afzal, of St Margaret’s Avenue, Luton, and Mahmoud, of Southlands Avenue, Peterborough, were each sent to prison for 11-and-a-half years.

From left, Ben Lewis, Asham Mahmoud and Wasim Afzal
From left, Ben Lewis, Asham Mahmoud and Wasim Afzal

Both stood trial over being involved in a drug supply conspiracy and were convicted by a jury.

Lewis, of St Swithins Road, Bridport, pleaded guilty and was sent down for seven years and two months.

Their sentencing hearing was told Afzal travelled the length and breadth of the UK to deliver kilo quantities of cocaine to customers as far north as Middlesborough and as far south as Christchurch.

Mahmoud and Lewis were customers of the gang, buying kilo quantities of class A drugs which they would then sell in their respective hometowns.

Before locking them up, Judge Philip Gray said the trio helped leave a "trail of misery" behind them.

The sentences mean nine members of the gang have been incarcerated following a six-month operation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.

It looked into networks selling multiple kilograms of cocaine at a time to other gangs at meetings arranged using covert encrypted devices.

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