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Met officer stole drugs money in fake police raids, court hears

·3-min read

A corrupt Metropolitan police officer wore his uniform to take part in heists staged by organised criminals on rival drug gangs and funded a lavish lifestyle involving Rolex watches and trips to Dubai, a court has heard.

Former Pc Kashif Mahmood used his uniform and patrol car to stage the robberies on London streets, the gang’s activities being directed by a mastermind in Dubai who used an encrypted communication system to relay his orders.

Mahmood, 31, appeared in court on Wednesday as his sentencing began. He had previously, in August 2020, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to acquire criminal property and misconduct in a public office, and has already been dismissed from the Met.

He took a cut of the money the organised crime group stole from their rivals and was only discovered when police managed to break into the EncroChat communication system used by criminals in 2020.

In one heist Mahmood and a gang member originally from Romania who posed as a police officer, stole £850,000.

Southwark crown court heard that the organised crime group recruited the Met officer, who flew with his fellow criminals to Dubai for summits about their crimes.

Peter Ratliff, prosecuting, said: “As and when required by the organised crime group, Kashif Mahmood would take marked and unmarked police vehicles, and, dressed in his police uniform, travel to locations where the organised crime group were engaged in, or aware of, the transfer of significant quantities of criminal cash, which was either to be laundered or reflected payment for wholesale quantities of drugs. Mahmood would then endeavour to seize this, under the pretence of the lawful exercise of his powers as a police officer.”

The robberies which took place also included a “significant seizure on 8 March 2020” and “two incidents where at least attempts were made to seize substantial quantities of cash, and one attempt to seize £500,000 in cash”, the prosecution said.

Mahmood was based at the Stoke Newington police station, east London, and also used sensitive police computers to gain intelligence for the drugs gang.

Evidence gained from the law enforcement “hacking” of EncroChat showed the Met officer went to Dubai to meet fellow gang members, and even flew on the same flight on at least one occasion.

Notebooks recovered from Mahmood’s locker showed he had researched sensitive information gleaned from police data systems, including the names of two people the gang tried to rob. In a bank account linked to him £35,000 was found as well as luxury watches.

Mahmood had been commended for bravery while a police officer, but in 2018 was convicted of assaulting a member of the public while on duty. He was allowed to stay in the Met.

The drugs gang he worked for were based in Ilford, east London, and involved twins, Shabaz and Shazad Khan, aged 32. Along with their older brother Moshin Khan, 35, all three have admitted supplying class A drugs and conspiracy to acquire criminal property.

Ratliff told the court the gang ran a highly lucrative business in class A and class B drugs. “The investigation revealed Moshin Khan and his brothers Shazad Khan and Shabaz Khan were engaged in the wholesale movement of significant quantities of class A drugs and were laundering thousands of pounds in cash.”

The sentencing hearing for the former Met officer continues.

EncroChat was a “command and control” system for crime barons, and law enforcement’s success in breaking into it early in 2020 triggered hundreds of operations across Europe.

The National Crime Agency said EncroChat was used exclusively by criminals, with 10,000 users in the UK paying £1,500 for a six-month contract for handsets. The service included features such as messages that would self-destruct after a certain time and the ability to wipe a device’s data by inputting a code.

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