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Two men jailed for drugs offences

News   •   May 08, 2021 07:00 BST

[CCTV still of the two men meeting]

Two drug dealers found with almost £300,000 worth of crystal meth have been jailed.

Michael Harkin, 32 (9.02.89) of Canterbury Place, SE17 and Mehrab Akbari, 45 (22.05.75) of Ealing Road, TW8 were sentenced on Friday, 7 May to a combined total of 14 years and nine months in prison following an operation led by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

On 19 October 2020, Mehrab Akbari pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crystal meth over a 14-month period. He was sentenced to eight years and three months' imprisonment at Inner London Crown Court.

Michael Harkin pleaded guilty to several offences relating to the supply of crystal meth on 19 October 2020. He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years.

In March 2019, a proactive operation – Op Caktonn – quickly identified Harkin and Akbari as suppliers and dealers of large amounts of crystal meth, and that they were operating across London.

Officers' suspicions were raised when Harkin was observed having meets in cars and in the street with multiple different males. The nature of the meetings – for short periods of time and involving multiple people not known to be linked – indicated that illegal transactions were taking place.

In tandem, Akbari was observed visiting a storage unit in Chiswick on a daily basis, which led investigators to believe that it was the location of his stash of drugs.

On occasion, Akbari was travelling by taxi to Kennington to meet with Harkin. It was clear that Akbari was acting as supplier, whilst Harkin was running the trade on the street.

On 23 April 2020, Akbari was arrested inside the storage unit. A search of a locker under his control revealed scales and approximately two kilos of crystal meth, with a street value of up to £278,720.

On 13 May 2020, Harkin was arrested at his home address in south east London. A search of the premises revealed a variety of drugs, including half a kilo of crystal meth, cocaine, MDMA, GBL, cannabis, psychedelics, depressants, scales and £10,155 in cash.

Officers discovered that Akbari was running his drug supply business from his mobile phone, finding messages which showed he was arranging the supply of kilos of crystal meth across London. This identified him as a key player in the supply of the drug, having so much control over the illegitimate market that he was able to increase the price of his sales as the availability of crystal meth was stunted during lockdown.

Investigating officer, PC James Taylor, of Specialist Crime for South London, said: “This sentencing comes as a result of a long and complex proactive investigation targeting the supply of crystal meth and associated drugs, primarily in the ChemSex scene.

"We know that in the long term, methamphetamine use can cause irreversible harm to users including damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse and liver, kidney and lung damage. Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts.

"Aside from the injury caused to users, the supply of this Class A drug is linked to violence which we see on London’s streets – including assault and homicide as suppliers and dealers dispute supply and territory. This illegal enterprise is ruining people’s lives whether they use the drug or not.

"The Met will continue to access specialist assets from across the service to survey, pinpoint, target and arrest all those involved in illegal enterprise across London.

"I hope this sentencing will act as a deterrent to those who would seek to profit from the sale of these harmful drugs and would encourage the public that if you have any information about drug dealing and especially those within the higher tiers of supply, please contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”