West Sussex brothers to repay over £60,000 after huge drug raids in Littlehampton and Pulborough
Two brothers from West Sussex have been given suspended prison sentences and ordered to pay back more than £60,000 over drug offences.
Youseff Maizi, 43, of Gloucester Road in Littlehampton and Chahir Maizi, 38, of Stopham Road in Pulborough, were arrested after drugs raids at four addresses in Littlehampton and Pulborough found huge stashes of drugs paraphernalia and cash.
Thirty officers took part in the searches, police said, during which 30 cannabis plants were discovered along with cannabis cultivation facilities.
The drugs, worth more than £35,000, were seized along with £10,000 cash, police added.
On February 5, 2019, Chahir Maizi pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to possession with intent to supply cannabis, police said. A month later he was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months and given a curfew for four weeks.
On May 15, 2019, Youseff Maizi pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to production of cannabis, said police. He was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete up to 200 hours of unpaid work.
Meanwhile, financial investigators from Sussex Police had been examining the Maizis' assets and accounts in order to prepare civil confiscation cases under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
At a court hearing on May 17, 2019, Chahir Maizi was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the sum of £45,000. He was ordered to pay the full amount within three months, police said, or receive nine months' imprisonment whilst still having to repay the money. He has now paid the full amount.
At a court hearing on Friday (January 3), Youseff Maizi was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the sum of £15,180. He was ordered to pay this full amount within 28 days or face six months' imprisonment while still being liable to repay the money.
Detective Inspector Mark O'Brien of the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit said: "Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to the central Government exchequer. However a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement. Similar amounts go the CPS and the court system.
"POCA-derived funding that return to this force is distributed equally between the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Chief Constable. Sussex Police receive 50 per cent cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75 per cent cash back from confiscation orders such as these.
"We fund Financial Investigators and Financial Intelligence Officers from part of these amounts to help continue our valuable work in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used through the PCC to support local community crime reduction and diversion projects."
For information about other work done by Sussex Police to tackle drugs issues see the force website.
A police spokesman said more than £6million of illicit criminal profits have already been recovered in the past three years as a result of action by Sussex Police under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).