A concealed cache of nearly £1 million in cash has been unearthed in a residence in Leeds following a firearms incident linked to a drug turf clash.
Damien Ali, a notorious drug dealer, found himself facing charges of concealing criminal property after authorities stumbled upon a significant sum of cash at his residence in March 2022.
His father, Hamid Ali, was also implicated in the same offence. The unravelling events began on March 1, when Hamid Ali reported to officers that unidentified assailants had set fire to his dwelling on Town Street, Beeston, and had previously targeted the property with a firework.
Upon inspection, officers identified damage consistent with the discharge of a firearm. A thorough forensic examination was initiated, and Hamid Ali granted consent for a search of the premises.
On March 5, police search specialists made a startling discovery beneath the sawdust-strewn tiled floor of an outbuilding where a dog was kept. Two safes, positioned side by side, were concealed in this space.
A locksmith was summoned to crack open the safes, revealing a substantial amount of cash. One safe contained 365 bundles of Bank of England notes, while the other held numerous bundles within bag-for-life carrier bags, alongside two shortbread biscuit tins stuffed with cash. The cumulative sum recovered fell just shy of £1 million.
Subsequently, Damien Ali and Hamid Ali were apprehended on March 7 and subjected to questioning about the substantial amount of money. Their fingerprints were traced back to a carrier bag from one of the safes.
Further investigation led officers to an address in Northcote Green, Beeston, on April 6, 2022. In a one-bedroom flat, law enforcement uncovered substantial amounts of cash and Class-A drugs. The haul included 1.14kg of cocaine, 743g of heroin, £329,636 in cash, and £224,000 worth of watches.
Notably, the occupant of the flat, 53-year-old Alan Vessey, received a prison sentence of five years and eight months in October 2022 for charges related to possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply, as well as possession of criminal property.
Damien Ali’s troubles persisted with a proactive investigation by the Leeds District Programme Precision Team in October 2022. This led to a search warrant execution at an address in Green Lane, Beeston, resulting in the recovery of cash and Class A drugs. Ali and three other individuals were arrested in connection with the investigation.
Ali faced charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. Others implicated in the investigation, namely Jordan Staten, Jason Pallas, and John Collett, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Yesterday, at Leeds Crown Court, Damien Ali, aged 42, of Town Street, Beeston, was sentenced to 10 years and two months. Hamid Ali, aged 61, of Waverley Garth, Beeston, received a five-year sentence. Jordan Staten, aged 34, of Normanton Place, Beeston, was sentenced to 28 months, while Jason Pallas, aged 46, of no fixed address, received a four-year and three-month sentence. John Collett, aged 37, of Bismarck Street, Beeston, was sentenced to five years and 10 months.