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Two Manchester men,  Shamsher Singh, and  Samuel Newton  helped run an international money laundering racket moving drugs worth more than £1m every month.

The gang travelled around the country collecting up to £160,000 in plastic carrier bags from criminal associates.

They used a method of money laundering called ‘cuckoo smurfing’ to hide it.

The scam centres on corrupt money bureau staff in foreign countries. When the parents of a foreign student make a money transfer to a relative in the UK the clean money is siphoned off to a bank account the criminals can access.

The bureau staff then send a text to the criminals tipping them off about the size of payment and to who it has been made. The criminals then go into a bank and pay dirty drugs money, which they have collected in Britain, into that account.

Undercover Serious Organised Crime Agency officers watched every move of such a racket run by a gang out of a house in Birmingham. The gang received texts from Dubai, Afghanistan and Iran with instructions on which student accounts money should be paid into.

The investigation led to the seizure of £600,000 and 20 kilos of heroin.

A coded ledger of the gang’s financial transactions was found at a house they used to store the money before it was banked.

Tactics which the gang used to avoid arousing suspicion included visiting numerous high street banks across the West Midlands to pay money into the student accounts in small amounts. They also dressed in suits to blend in.

The gang had collected the drugs money on residential street corners away from CCTV and meetings would last no more than 60 seconds. But SOCA officers were watching.

Three Birmingham men who ran the scam were jailed for a total of 16 years.

But among four other criminals who were convicted of helping them were Shamsher Singh, aged 34, of Barnwood Drive, Wythenshawe, and Samuel Newton, 27, of Glenmore Avenue, West Didsbury.

Singh was a cash deliverer and collector. He was filmed on three occasions meeting Birmingham-based members of the gang passing them bags of cash.

When he was arrested inside his loft at his home, there was a cash counting machine and £50,000 cash.

Newton had a similar role and was filmed meeting the Birmingham criminals in Atherton, near Leigh. During a search of his home £10,000 in cash was found and weighing scales.

Singh was jailed for two years six months. Newton will be sentenced next week. Both pleaded guilty to money laundering offences.

Richard Watson, head of investigations for SOCA in the Midlands, said: “Serious organised criminals need specialist support services in order to do business, and anyone who assists them in this way is a target for SOCA.

“These men enabled drugs gangs to hide their money and settle debts with suppliers so they could continue their illegal activities To Read ,  Click here: Drug money couriers jailed for role in international gang | Manchester Evening News – menmedia.co.uk