£1 million uncovered in house safes after gun fired at Leeds address during drugs turf war

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Nearly £1 million was uncovered in a safe at a Leeds house after a gun was fired at the address during a turf war.

It sparked an investigation that led to five major drug dealers being jailed for more than 27 years at Leeds Crown Court today.

Dealer Damien Ali was charged with concealing criminal property after the haul of cash was found at his address in March 2022. His father, Hamid Ali, was also charged with the same offence. He had approached officers in Beeston on March 1 and reported that unknown suspects had set fire to his home in Town Street, Beeston, earlier that evening.

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Officers went to the address and found damage consistent with a firearms discharge. A scene was put in place to undergo forensic examination and Hamid Ali consented to a search of the property. On March 5, officers discovered two safes side-by-side secreted beneath the sawdust-strewn tiled floor of an outbuilding where a dog was kept.

The gang were jailed for more than 27 years today. Top (l-r) Damien Ali, Hamid Ali, Jason Pallas. Bottom (l-r) John Collett, Jordan Staten. (pics by WYP)The gang were jailed for more than 27 years today. Top (l-r) Damien Ali, Hamid Ali, Jason Pallas. Bottom (l-r) John Collett, Jordan Staten. (pics by WYP)
The gang were jailed for more than 27 years today. Top (l-r) Damien Ali, Hamid Ali, Jason Pallas. Bottom (l-r) John Collett, Jordan Staten. (pics by WYP) | WYP

A locksmith was called to open the safes which were found to contain a large amount of cash. One safe had 365 bundles of cash and the other contained numerous bundles of notes in bag-for-life carrier bags along with two shortbread biscuit tins stuffed with cash. The total amount recovered was just short of £1 million. Damien Ali and Hamid Ali were arrested on March 7 and interviewed.

Their fingerprints were found on a carrier bag from one of the safes. A prescription-type label was found in an empty carrier bag in one safe with another man’s details on. This led officers to search an address in Northcote Green, Beeston, on April 6, 2022. In the one-bedroom flat officers discovered 1.14kg of cocaine, 743g of heroin, a total of £329,636 cash and £224,000 worth of watches.

Another cupboard contained a compressed block of white powder, later forensically confirmed as being 689g of cocaine, and another contained a compressed block of brown powder, later confirmed as 497g of heroin. A JD bag containing £61,020 in bank notes was found next to it. Officers recovered further amounts of cash totalling more than £200,000 along with various other amounts of drugs, including some in a large trunk in the living room with the word "drugs" written across it. A money-counting machine, scales, gloves and other dealing paraphernalia were also found.

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Fingerprints linked both Damien and Hamid Ali to items in the address and they were subsequently charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin. The occupant of the flat, Alan Vessey, aged 53, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison in October 2022 after being convicted of possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and possession of criminal property in relation to the cash.

Almost £1 million cash was found. (pic by WYP)Almost £1 million cash was found. (pic by WYP)
Almost £1 million cash was found. (pic by WYP) | WYP

Damien Ali was again the subject of an investigation by specialist officers from Leeds District Programme Precision Team, which targets serious and organised, crime in October 2022. Enquiries by the team led to a search warrant being executed at an address in Green Lane, Beeston, where cash and drugs were recovered and four men were arrested. A vehicle linked to the investigation was subsequently stopped by roads policing officers and half a kilo of cocaine was recovered after Ali attempted to flee the scene.

Ali was charged with drugs offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. Also charged in the same investigation were Jordan Staten, Jason Pallas and John Collett. All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Damien Ali, aged 42, of Town Street, Beeston, was sentenced to 10 years and two months. Hamid Ali, aged 61, of Waverley Garth, Beeston, was jailed for five years. John Collett, aged 37, of Bismarck Street, Beeston was sentenced to five years and 10 months. Jason Pallas, aged 46, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years and three months. Jordan Staten, aged 34, of Normanton Place, Beeston, was sentenced to 28 months.

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