Maldon 'cocaine kingpin' gets 18 years over drugs ring suspected of making millions in just 3 years


MALDON restauranteur and "cocaine kingpin" Abdul "Vijay" Hamid has been jailed for 18 years for running a drugs ring suspected of making millions of pounds over the past three years.

Hamid, 34, (pictured above) was today jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court alongside former partner Danielle Stevenson-Roberts, 35, (pictured below) who ran the Sunkissed tanning salon in the high street, and two other associates.

Profits from Hamid's drug supply network were laundered through five businesses he and Stevenson-Roberts ran in Maldon, including the Bengal Tiger Indian restaurant at The Square, in Heybridge, Balti Bhujon, in Mill Road, Maldon, and the tanning salon.

He ran a drugs hotline known as the Tariq line which sold cocaine largely in Chelmsford, Maldon, Heybridge and the Dengie Peninsula.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "During the investigation, officers worked out that the drugs line was prolific, and operated around 20 hours a day, every day, potentially making millions of pounds in profit. "The pair also used money from their crimes to pay for properties and cars, including land in Tenerife and cars including Mercedes saloons and a Rolls-Royce. "Officers suspected they were smuggling cash in their luggage during frequent visits to Tenerife."

Judge Simon Mayo QC said: “The scale of this conspiracy was enormous.

SEIZED: Cash confiscated from Hamid's suitcase (Essex Police)

“You were the principal in this conspiracy. It was your operation. You owned the Tariq line.” The court heard that from January 2017 until January 2020, there were around 1,000 drug transactions a day, bringing in an estimated £1.8 million per year and involving the sale over the whole period of around 36kg of cocaine.

The pair were detained by Border Force officials at Stansted Airport on August 18 2019 and were found to have £29,000 in their luggage.

When questioned about the cash, they claimed it was for a wedding, some was from their businesses, and some from the sale of cars. The cash was seized. The spokesman added: "The following day, Hamid failed to stop for police in The Street, Latchingdon.

"He crashed into cars belonging to two members of the public in an attempt to evade police and mounted a pavement where pedestrians were walking. He was stopped, arrested and charged with a string of driving offences." Following an extensive investigation, Hamid and Stevenson-Roberts were arrested in February 2020, along with Murshed Uddin (pictured below) and Lloyd Bridge (pictured above), two associates who helped run the drugs line.

Andrew Lay, a drugs courier for the Tariq line, was arrested the following month. All five were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. Hamid, Stevenson-Roberts, Uddin, 24, and Bridge, 32, were also charged with concealing criminal property. Hamid and Uddin were found with mobile phones in prison while they were on remand and were also each charged with offences relating to electronic transmission devices in prison. All five defendants pleaded guilty to the offences they were charged with at hearings in September last year.

Lay, 37, of Victoria Road, Maldon, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday April 16 to two years in prison, suspended for two years. Hamid, formerly of Sassoon Way, Maldon, was jailed for 18 years. Stevenson-Roberts, formerly of Church Street, Goldhanger, was jailed for eight years. Uddin, formerly of Mundon Road, Maldon, was jailed for seven years and three months. Bridge, of Brownbaker Court, Neath Hill, Milton Keynes, was jailed for five years and two months. Detective Chief Inspector Steve Nelson said: “Hamid was the head of an organised crime group, who directed a network of street dealers selling cocaine in mid Essex. “The drugs sales were prolific, and potentially made millions of pounds while the drugs line was operating between January 2017 and February 2020. “Stevenson-Roberts then used legitimate businesses, as well as a fake one, to launder the cash. “When Hamid was remanded in custody in August 2019 for driving offences, Uddin and Bridge stepped up from being couriers to manage the drugs line. “But we dismantled their criminal enterprise and they and Uddin are now paying the price for their crimes.

CONFISCATED: Cash found on Danielle Stevenson-Roberts (Essex Police)

“We have secured legal restraints on the sale or movement of property and more than £300,000 in cash in the UK and Spain. We have also seized several luxury cars from Hamid and Stevenson-Roberts. These will all be subject of a proceeds of crime hearing in due course. “The judge commended the work of the investigative team in this case, which is testimony to their tenacity and efforts to bring these criminals to justice. “Drugs lines profit off the back of other people’s misery and don’t care about the harm they cause in our communities. “We are determined to take apart these crime groups and make sure they don’t profit from their crimes.” Judge Simon Mayo QC said: “The scale of this conspiracy was enormous. “You were the principal in this conspiracy – it was your operation. You owned the Tariq line.” The court heard how over the course of more than three years, from January 2017 until January 2020, there were around 1,000 drugs transactions a day, bringing in an estimated £1.8 million per year and involving the sale over the whole period of around 36kg of cocaine.