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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 15:52 GMT
Drug gang's solicitor is jailed
Naveen Sagar
Police described Sagar as very intelligent and arrogant
A solicitor who helped members of a drugs gang escape justice has been jailed for fourteen and a half years.

Naveen Sagar, 32, represented key members of a London criminal network which made millions of pounds selling heroin, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Sagar, from Wembley, north-west London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He also admitted trying to pervert the course of justice as well as two counts of fraud.

His corrupt practices included an elaborate plan to try to portray the police falsely as corrupt by recording and editing conversations, the court heard.

Everybody knew he was a crooked solicitor - they said he will get you off a case
Ahmed Osman Hersi, gang member

Sagar also arranged false alibis and defences, supplied bogus witnesses and regularly tipped off gang members of police activities.

Judge Fergus Mitchell said: "The public on the whole trust solicitors as do others in professional positions such as other lawyers and police.

"You undoubtedly contributed to a reduction in that confidence."

After his arrest in February last year, a search of the home he shared with his parents revealed 75,000 under a bed.

Police also found an emergency services' radio scanner tuned into police channels.

Sagar became linked with the gang in March 2003 after meeting its linchpin, 29-year-old Ahmed Osman Hersi.

Hersi arrived in the UK as a Somali asylum seeker in 1985, and had served a jail sentence for car jacking.

Ahmed Osman Hersi
Hersi arrived in the UK from Somalia as an asylum seeker

Police said his network primarily operated from the Southall area, but during their investigations they seized drugs and guns in Hackney, Leicester Square, and Shepherds Bush.

Judge Mitchell read out comments Hersi made about Sagar in which he said: "Everybody knew he was a crooked solicitor. They said he will help you out and get you off a case."

Hersi, of Saxon Road, Southall, west London will be sentenced on Thursday at the same court.

He pleaded guilty to various charges including conspiracy to possess firearms, possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Two members of the gang have already been sentenced to 18 years in prison each after being found guilty of firearms offences.

Detectives described Sagar as "very intelligent and astute" but also an "arrogant and cocky" person who believed he was "untouchable".

Police said they would be seeking to confiscate 1m of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act from Sagar alone as a result of the investigation.

A police spokesman added that any evidence of Sargar being involved in similar criminal activity would have been presented at the same time as this case.



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