A man has been jailed and £300,000 from a money laundering operation seized by the courts after a car was stopped and searched on the M6 near Stafford.
Tariq Zia, of East London, was jailed for 7 years 5 months for his part in a nationwide money laundering operation worth around £4m.
Zia was jailed at Stafford Crown Court for his part in the operation where cash was transferred between London and the North and North West of England.
Almost £300,000 was seized by police when the BMW he was travelling in was stopped and searched on the M6 southbound at Doxey, near Stafford, in January 2015. Another man travelling with Zia is still wanted by police.
The court heard that the group transferred significant cash between 11 December 2014 and 17 January 2015. There were 15 days when the group made journeys to the North and North West and, on five occasions, two vehicles travelled in convoy. A typical collection was likely to exceed £200,000, so around £4m was laundered during the five-week period.
The court heard that 34-year-old Zia, of Barking, East London, was one of four men involved in moving the money.
A first seizure took place in Leeds earlier the same day. Officers from West Yorkshire Police seized £118,000 in an exchange in Leeds on 16 January 2015. This money was also confiscated by the courts.
One of the men, Hafiz Kashif-Ur-Rahman, failed to answer court bail and is still wanted. He was found guilty following a trial in his absence in October 2016 and sentenced to 7 years 10 months.
Another man, Iradj Kouhazari, was found to be complicit in the transfer of the Leeds cash. He was found guilty in September 2017 following a trial and was sentenced to 21 months.
Detective Constable Richard Farmer, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Money laundering on this scale helps drive other forms of criminality which, in this case, included drug trafficking. This sentence reflects the harm caused by organised criminality and the consequences for those who facilitate it. Through the Proceeds of Crime Act we have been able to take these ill-gotten gains from criminals and can now use them to help, rather than harm, our community”.