Authorities in the U.K. have confiscated properties worth an estimated 17 million pounds (US$22.4 million) in what marks the end of an eight-year investigation into one of the country’s most prolific drug trafficking groups.
The National Crime Agency, NCA, said on Wednesday that it had seized 59 properties, mostly private residences, as part of four linked civil recovery actions against dozens of individuals in East Birmingham with suspected financial ties to drug lords Alam and Ameran Zeb Khan.
The recovery of the properties follows a successful criminal investigation that saw the pair convicted on charges of drug trafficking, after officers were able to establish the assets had been purchased with profits stemming from the import and distribution of heroin from Pakistan, as well as fraud and money laundering.
Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said in a statement that the result represents an important showcasing of how civil proceedings can complement criminal investigations.
“This result displays the power of civil investigations working in tandem with criminal ones to take high harm organised crime groups down. We will continue our work to scrutinise wealth we think is obtained from criminality, and take away their illicit assets,” he said.
The success of these civil recovery actions represents an important win for the agency, after a High Court judge earlier this year ruled against three unexplained wealth orders the authority had attempted to bring against three properties allegedly owned by the relatives of former president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, as reported by OCCRP.
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