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West Sussex brothers being stripped of drugs profits
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Two brothers from West Sussex who have already been given suspended prison sentences for drugs offences, also have to pay back more than £60,000 of their criminal gains to lawful society.
These amounts will add to the total of more than £6million illicit criminal profits already recovered in the past three years as a result of action by Sussex Police through action under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Youseff Maizi, now 43, of Gloucester Road, Littlehampton, and Chahir Maizi, now 38, of Stopham Road, Pulborough, were arrested after drug warrants were carried out at their addresses and two others in Littlehampton in March 2016. Thirty officers from across West Sussex took part in the raids and during searches 30 cannabis plants were found along with cannabis cultivation facilities.
The drugs worth more than £35,000 along with £10,000 cash were seized.
On 5 February 2019 Chahir Maizi pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to possession with intent to supply cannabis and a month later he was sentenced to seven months imprisonment suspended for 24 months as well as a curfew for four weeks.
On 15 May 2019 Youseff Maizi pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to production of cannabis and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years and to 200 hours unpaid work.
Meanwhile expert Financial Investigators from Sussex Police had been examining all their assets and accounts and prepared civil confiscation cases against the pair under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
At a court hearing on 17 May 2019 Chahir Maizi was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the sum of £45,000.00 and was ordered to pay this full amount within three months, or receive nine months imprisonment whilst still having to repay the monies. He has now paid the full amount.
Then at a court hearing on 3 January 2020 Youseff Maizi was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the sum of £15,180.00 and was ordered to pay this full amount within 28 days or receive six months imprisonment in default whilst still being liable to repay the monies.
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% cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75% 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.