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By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 03 May 2013 Updated: 03/05 22:42
A FRANKLEY gang member has been sent to prison after claiming he was dealing drugs to pay debts to a gang.
Mohammed Asif was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
The 34-year-old was arrested in January this year by officers from West Midlands Police’s Counter Gangs Task Force but claimed he had to pay off a debt to members of a Birmingham gang.
Asif was spotted in Cliveland Street in the city along with 34-year-old Tanya Heath from Kingstanding and a 16-year-old boy, who were also arrested for drug dealing.
Heath received a 15 month prison sentence and the youth was given a 12 month referral order.
DC Simon Meller, who led the investigation, said: “Asif claimed that he was under pressure to pay an illegal debt to a Birmingham gang. It is clear that it was Asif who was exploiting a vulnerable woman and a juvenile to fund his lifestyle.
“Drugs feature heavily as a source of income to those engaged in gang activity. We constantly seek to arrest and prosecute those involved in an effort to cut off the funds that are the life blood to criminal activity.”
Launched in early 2012, the 35 officers in the task force combine enforcement action with community engagement, working to divert children away from the gang lifestyle.
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