Five defendants were sentenced on 26 May 2023 at the Crown Court at Leeds for conspiring to supply class A drugs in Harrogate, through a designated drugs telephone line. Eleanor Fry led Maryam Ahmad in this prosecution as part of Operation Jackal, which was conducted by North Yorkshire Police to tackle County Lines drugs offences in Harrogate. The matter was listed for trial in February 2023 but guilty pleas were entered by all defendants at various points in advance of the trial date. On Friday, before proceeding to sentence, HHJ Mairs heard a Newton hearing in which the first defendant, Qasib Hussain, was shown to have been wholly dishonest in his evidence regarding his role in the conspiracy and the length of his involvement in it.
The court heard that bulk messages were sent out to drug users when a courier travelled from Bradford to Harrogate with drugs to be sold. Vulnerable drug users would be relied upon to conduct street deals and were sometimes paid in drugs for their participation. When business was booming they were reloaded with extra stock of drugs at several points in the day, making significant profits for the defendants who were running the drugs line.