Sparkhill gangster nicknamed 'Big Timer' headed heroin smuggling gang who dealt in 'White Gold'
gangster nicknamed ‘Big Timer’ led a Birmingham drugs cartel which made millions of pounds by importing heroin into the UK from the continent.
To the outside world Rafiq Mohammed, 38, made his living as manager of Rampage Fitness in Bordesley Green.
Yet away from the world of fitness he was flexing his muscles in the criminal underworld by running a gang smuggling huge quantities of heroin into Birmingham, heroin dubbed ‘White Gold’ and believed to have been imported from Spain.
As the money flowed in the crime family boss splashed out on luxury holidays and cars including an Audi Q7 with the registration plate B055 BT - (Boss Big Timer).
And crime was a family business.
His brother Shafiq Mohammed, 28, acted as his deputy, alongside garage repair worker Mohammed Nasir, 26.
They used telecoms worker Ibrar Uddin, 43, and Ravinder Mattu, 45, as their ‘money men’ to launder their cash, while kebab shop boss Juma Aziz, 41, and travel agent Mohammed Rashid, 39, acted as couriers.
Yet the gang was brought to justice by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of West Midlands Police, who used surveillance, forensics, CCTV and phone technology to nail the crooks.
On February 12 Rafiq was seen meeting Uddin at a restaurant in Ladypool Road , Birmingham. Aziz later arrived before driving off with a bag.
Traffic officers later stopped his car in the Winson Green area. Inside was a JD sports bag containing £57,460 in cash, neatly bundled with multi-coloured elastic bands.
Then on March 21, Audi Spider R8 owner Uddin met Rashid at Rampage Fitness gym.
Police later stopped Rashid in the Alum Rock area and found a Next carrier bag containing £46,290 in cash.
On July 29, police spotted Rafiq and Mattu making an exchange in Hangleton Drive.
Mattu was later stopped in the Bilston area and had a bag with £5,000 cash in it. A police raid at his home discovered a further £34,900 under a wardrobe
On August 20 Rafiq was seen in Lea End, driving a Touran and met Mark Calvert.
Detectives later stopped Calvert and found he had 80gs of heroin on him, with a street value of more than £20,000.
He later pleaded guilty to possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply and was jailed for eight years.
Police finally swooped on the brothers on October 16 where they were spotted carrying large bags and holdalls in and out of a ‘safe house’ property in Lea End.
Rafiq was detained first and was found with a small quantity of heroin and crack.
But a search of the flat uncovered heroin and dealing equipment. Pieces of brown tape wrappings were also discovered with the word ‘Oro Blanco’ - Spanish for White Gold.
The packaging was believed to have come from six packages of drugs, each weighing half a kilo, and with the fingerprints of Shafiq and Nasir on them.
A raid at Rafiq’s home found a large quantity of cash, a money counting machine, heroin and multiple mobile phones next to his bed.
Shafiq and Nasir went on the run to Thailand and Pakistan, but police were waiting for them when they returned to the UK.
The men have now all been jailed after a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Rafiq Mohammed, from Hangleton Drive Sparkhill, was sentenced to ten years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering;
Shafiq Mohammed, from Jacob Place, Edgbaston, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs;
Mohammed Nasir, from Downey Close Sparkbrook , was jailed for six years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs;
Ibrar Uddin, from Wilton Road, Sparkhill, received two years for money laundering;
Ravinder Mattu, from Bate Street, Wolverhampton, received two years for money laundering;
Juma Aziz, from Clarance Road, Handsworth, received an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years for money laundering;
And Mohammed Rashid, from Sheldon Heath Road, Sheldon, was handed eight months, suspended for two years, for money laundering.
Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, who heads the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “The hypocrisy of these driving around in their cars, posing as successful, when they are actually peddling misery is an aberration to those whose loved ones are hooked and an affront to normal hard working folk.
“This was a significant group, but there is much more work to be done. The fight against drugs is far from over.”