Smugglers hid heroin worth £500k in carpet, a court heard

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A father of six took part in a drugs plot which saw heroin worth half a million pounds smuggled into the country in a rolled up carpet, a court heard.

Mohammed Aslam, of Clarkson Street, Ravensthorpe, conspired with others to import the class A drug from Pakistan between March and June last year, Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday.

Jeremy Hill-Baker, prosecuting, told jurors that two carpets were imported through Manchester Airport before a third, containing 18.85 kg of heroin stashed into tubes that were woven into the carpet, was intercepted by border officials. Officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency then traced the carpet as it was driven back to Dewsbury and locked in a container in Lock Street, Thornhill Lees, rented by Razwan Hussain, 28.

Hussain, of Lane Hackings, Huddersfield, has already pleaded guilty to involvement in the conspiracy.

Aslam, 50, constructed a complex network of fake businesses and a fake identity to try to conceal his crime, jurors heard.

Mr Hill-Baker said: “Mohammed Aslam, together with Razwan Hussain and others was involved in the conspiracy to import these drugs.”

He added: “It was quite plain he was in on this.”

The court heard how Aslam stole the identity of a man called Sokol Berisha, whose passport went missing in 2007. The passport was linked to his address in Clarkson Street in 2009 after water rates were left unpaid. An email account was also created under the name Sokol Berisha, registered at Cleckheaton Boxing Academy, which Aslam’s son attended. It was used to keep in contact with freight companies who were transporting the carpets.

Jurors also heard how a mobile phone was found in the back of Aslam’s people carrier which contained photographs of carpets which appeared to have cuts and slits in them.

The court was told the first consignment arrived in Manchester on March 18 and was collected two days later. The carpets were not examined by the authorities but Mr Hill-Baker said if it did not contain drugs, then it was a dry run.

The second consignment arrived on May 26 and was collected three days later. Mr Hill-Baker said that the method of storing drugs within carpets was known to the authorities, but the carpet was not cut open on arrival. It was examined by a drug sniffer dog at Heathrow but nothing was detected. It was then sent for further tests at Manchester but no evidence of drugs were found.

Mr Hill-Baker said the drugs would not have been automatically detected if well concealed.

Heroin was discovered in the final carpet delivery which was collected on June 12. It would have a street value of “considerably more” than £500,000 when cut with other ingredients at street level, Mr Hill-Baker said.

Aslam denies conspiring to import heroin. The trial continues.