Drug dealing gang who created market for crystal meth in Yorkshire are jailed for more than 31 years

Hassan Jalilian
Hassan Jalilian

FOUR members of an organised crime group that created a market in Yorkshire for crystal meth  - one of the most addictive drugs in the world - have been jailed more than 31-years.

The gang leader Hassan Jalilian, who attacked two police officers with CS spray, imported crystal meth hidden inside children's toys from Canada, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Michael Bendo

Michael Bendo

The sophisticated gang conspired to sell drugs including crystal meth, cocaine and ecstasy worth tens of thousands of pounds over four-months in 2017.

Police recovered drugs valued at £61,000 along with two hunting knives and CS spray.

Jalilian had his photo taken posing topless with wads of cash and his second in command Michael Bendo also posed for the camera clutching money.

Police found a photograph of a gun and ammunition on Jalilian's mobile phone and a photo of him posing with a bottle of what he described as 'napalm.'

Gohar Manzoor

Gohar Manzoor

Jalilian had started to set up a gym as a front at Crown House on Armley Road in Armley, Leeds, where the group cut, packaged, stored and distributed drugs and where police found a hydraulic press.

Jalilian, aged 27, of Batter Lane, Rawdon, appeared in the dock with 22-year-old Bendo, of Kirklees Garth, Farsley, Pudsey; 29-year-old Gohar Manzoor, of Low Road, Dewsbury Moor and Cheryl Scott, aged 45 of First Avenue, Royston, Barnsley.

Jalilian was jailed for 11-years, Bendo was jailed for eight-years, Manzoor was jailed for seven-years-and-four-months and Scott was jailed for five-years.

The court heard Cheryl Scott, a lingerie designer who worked at Inspire Intimates in Harrogate, was in a relationship with Jalilian and was infatuated with him.

Cheryl Scott

Cheryl Scott

They lived together at Scott's previous address in Redesdale Gardens in Adel, north Leeds.

Prosecutor, Patrick Palmer said in May and June 2017 Border Force officials intercepted three packages from Toronto in Canada addressed to Jalilian at Scott's home in Redesdale Gardens.

Mr Palmer said: "Each of the three parcels contained an identical children's toy. Hidden inside each toy was a foil package. Each package contained about 50g crystal meth with a purity of about 99 per cent and with a street value of £18,000."

The court heard that up until 2017 there was no market for crystal meth in Yorkshire so the group had to create one.

Police released this image of Hassan Jalilian posing for a photo taken on his mobile phone.

Police released this image of Hassan Jalilian posing for a photo taken on his mobile phone.

Mr Palmer said: "Jalilian, having seen this gap in the drug market, used his contacts and the dark web to order and import crystal meth and has used crypto currency to pay for the drug and preserve secrecy."

Mr Palmer said Jalilian, who was in charge of the operation was a "competent chemist."

Mr Palmer said Jalilian's second in command Bendo had made "significant amounts of cash" from drug dealing, adding: "From his telephone messages it is plain that he likes to boast about the amount of cash he had. Thousands of pounds were found at his home as well as an expensive Mercedes motor vehicle."

The court heard Manzoor was a trusted member of the organised crime group and exploited the supply lines set up by Jalilian.

Jalilian used CS spray to attack two police officers who were in a patrol car close to the address on Redesdale Gardens where he lived with Scott.

Jalilian pulled up alongside the police car just after 7.30am on Tuesday June 27 2017.

Michael Bendo posing with wads of cash for a photo taken on Hassan Jalilian's mobile phone.

Michael Bendo posing with wads of cash for a photo taken on Hassan Jalilian's mobile phone.

Mr Palmer said Jalilian criticised the officers for their parking, saying the police car was blocking his way.

Mr Palmer said: “The police officers went to the defendant’s car. They identified themselves as police officers and asked him to get out of the car.

“The defendant reached down and picked up a can of CS spray and sprayed it into the face of PC Newman, The gas struck both officers.”

Mr Palmer said Jalilian crashed into a number of vehicles including the police car as he made his escape and went on the run.

Later that morning, police searched Jalilian and lingerie designer Scott’s home in Redesdale Gardens.

Officers found a drug dealers tool kit including cocaine and ecstasy, digital scales, an industrial money counter and industrial heat cooker with traces of cocaine and an industrial vacuum sealer.

Mr Palmer said: "Photographs of her house show it is literally littered with drugs, drugs paraphernalia, cash and weapons."

Mr Palmer said when Scott's Honda Civic car was searched by police, officers found a CS gas canister.

Police found a large hunting knife and a CS gas canister in Jalilian's BMW.

When police searched the gym at Crown House on Armley Road, they found items including a hydraulic press, a blender with traces of cocaine , benzocaine and caffeine a hunting knife and £560 worth of cocaine.

Jalilian was arrested on July 1 2017 as he was about to take a taxi to an airport.

He had a suitcase containing more than £8,500 in cash, cocaine with crystal meth worth £11,960 and £18,900 worth of ecstasy, and a Stanley knife.

When Bendo was arrested at his home in Kirkees Garth in Farsley on October 2 2017, police found £9,000 cash in a wardrobe and scales contaminated with cocaine.

Jalilian admitted conspiracy to import Class A drugs crystal meth, having a firearm with intent - the pepper spray; administering a noxious substance - the pepper spray; possessing a hunting knife and a lock knife; dangerous driving and possessing criminal property - cash.

Jalilian, Bendo, Scott and Manzoor admitted conspiracy to supply crystal meth, cocaine, ecstasy, M-CAT, and Class C drug gamma butyrolactone.

Bendo and Manzoor admitted possessing criminal property - cash. Bendo also admitted assisting an offender.

Manzoor's wife, 25-year-old Razna Begum, of Low Road, Dewsbury Moor, admitted possessing criminal property in connection with £1,600 police found in her handbag.

Begum was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Andrew Dallas, for Jalilian, said his client was suffering from mental health problems at the time of the offences.

Mr Dallas said Jalilian played the leading role in the conspiracy but left a trail that was easy to follow.

Mr Dallas said: “The packages from Canada were addressed to him at the address where he had a room at Cheryl Scott’s home.”

Nick Worsley, for Bendo, said: "He deeply regrets getting involved in this. He apologises through me wholeheartedly to the court."

Michael Miller for Cheryl Scott, said she has no previous convictions, adding: “She did not have a full awareness of the scale of this operation.

"Her main role was allowing her premises to be used for the preparation of those drugs.”

Glenn Parsons, for Manzoor, said his client was ten times over the drug driving limit when he was arrested.

Mr Parsons said Manzoor became a drug addict after suffering from depression following the death of his older brother.

Jeremy Barton for Begum said: "She effectively turned a blind eye to his (Her husband Manzoor's) drug use."

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Phil Jackson, of Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “This group were involved in a very sophisticated criminal enterprise which saw

large amounts of controlled drugs, notably highly-addictive crystal methamphetamine, imported into the country and supplied to a large customer base across West Yorkshire through a

‘ring-and-bring’ phone line.

“We regularly see how addictive drugs cause untold misery and harm to individual users and to local communities where they fuel crime and anti-social behaviour.

"The activities of this drug dealing operation will have been responsible for causing a significant amount of those issues.

“We also seized an arsenal of weapons from various address and vehicles during the investigation, and Jalilian showed he was prepared to use them to try to avoid capture when officers

first moved to arrest him. He sprayed them with a noxious substance, resulting in one officer needing hospital treatment, and then rammed their police vehicle to get away.

“When we tracked him down he had a large amount of drugs and cash on him and was clearly planning to flee the country.

“We hope the significant sentences that he and his accomplices have received will serve as a stark reminder of the serious penalties that those who deal drugs can expect.

“We also hope it will provide suitable reassurance to the community and illustrate our ongoing commitment to targeting those who think they can profit from the destructive trade in drugs.”

Police found this photograph of a gun and ammunition on Jalilian's mobile phone.

Police found this photograph of a gun and ammunition on Jalilian's mobile phone.

Crystal meth seized by police

Crystal meth seized by police

A photo of Hassan Jalilian found on his phone posing with a bottle of what he described as 'napalm'

A photo of Hassan Jalilian found on his phone posing with a bottle of what he described as 'napalm'

Incapacitant spray seized by police

Incapacitant spray seized by police

A hunting knife seized during the investigation

A hunting knife seized during the investigation