Bolton man jailed after being found guilty of running a drugs ring
Image by Greater Manchester Police (GMP)
Bolton businessman, Irtiza Bashir, who is said to have led a double life has been jailed for 23 years.
46-year-old Bashir supplied 537 kg of drugs worth £40 million, according to media reports. He was found heavily involved in the drugs ring after the police was able to hack into the system.
Subsequently, the man was arrested on 16 December, 2021 after officers raided his home in Lostock and his company Globe Recycling Services in Lancashire, according to reports.
A court heard that Bashir was in possession of several luxury items including two luxury homes and a Bentley. Before he was found, he used Encrochat to hatch plans to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine and cannabis from Holland to the North West.
He kept secret notes on his Encrochat profile named ‘Weststreet’, with details of the import route and plans to hide the drugs in frozen chicken vans.
After finding sufficient evidence including photographs taken inside Bashir’s home, Police said that he used to communicate his plans to Sohail Ali, 37, of Revridge Road, Blackburn, who had already pleaded guilty to drug trafficking earlier and was sentenced on October 21, 2021.
Bashir denied the charges initially and said that he was rich because of the business he had been running for 12 years and put the blame on his brother who he claimed had been visiting from the Middle East.
However, after a nine day trial, the jury at Bolton Crown Court found him guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs, conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis and conspiracy to launder criminal cash.
Deputy Circuit Judge Elliot Knopf said, “Ultimately you chose to involve yourself in this activity. You attempted to reap the rewards that you say were available and have to pay a very heavy price for that.”
“You played a leading role in a conspiracy and were a linchpin. You may not have been at the very top of the tree but certainly were well up the branches of the tree in the context of a leading role,” he added.
Bashir’s lawyer Peter Wright KC informed the court that the sentencing would have a ‘disastrous effect’ on the man’s teenage son, mother, as well as his father. He added that he had been involved in several charitable work in the past. A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing in connection to the charges is set to take place on February 9, 2023.