Two men have been jailed for a total of 33 years for sexually exploiting a vulnerable teenager and plying her with drugs.
Essex Police launched a complex investigation after receiving intelligence about suspected child sexual exploitation and drug dealing in Chelmsford in December 2013.
During those enquiries, a young woman came forward in April 2014 and revealed how Mohammad Rostami had groomed her into believing she was his girlfriend around seven years earlier, when she was aged just 13 or 14.
Rostami, now 37, met the girl when he worked for a takeaway in Duke Street, Chelmsford. He befriended the vulnerable and troubled teenager with alcohol and drugs and they started a sexual relationship.
When she became addicted to drugs, he told her she had to start earning of paying for the drugs herself. He then manipulated her into having sex with other men in return for drugs or money.
When his interest in her fizzled out, she was exploited by Mehdi Zare, who arranged for her to have sex with other men in exchange for drugs or money.
The exploitation took place between around 2006 to 2009 and ended when she left the Chelmsford area.
A trial was held at Chelmsford Crown Court from October 10, 2016 to December 16, 2016, in which the two men denied the charges against them.
Rostami, a hairdresser, formerly of Shoeburyness, was found guilty of one count of causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child aged under 18; two counts of sexual activity with a child aged under 16; and three counts of supplying cocaine, cannabis and mephedrone.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on a count of rape.
He was jailed today, January 12, for a total of 15 years overall for the six charges he was convicted of. He was also jailed for six years for conspiracy to supply mephedrone, after admitting the charge at a linked trial last year. His overall jail term was therefore 21 years.
He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order that will run indefinitely.
Mehdi Zare, 32, a deliveryman, formerly of Chelmsford, was found guilty by a jury of one count of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child; one count of sexual activity with a child; and three counts of supplying cocaine, cannabis and mephedrone.
He was found not guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Zare was jailed today for a total of 12 years for the charges he was convicted of. He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order that will run indefinitely.
A third man, Amin Kaveh, 35, unemployed, formerly of Shoeburyness, admitted two counts of supplying mephedrone to two other teenage girls, one aged under 18 and another who was 18.
He also stood trial for conspiracy to supply mephedrone last year, but was convicted by a jury.
He was jailed today for a total of ten years.
The conspiracy to supply mephedrone case ended in March 2016. Police seized mephedrone with a street value of around £10,000 from Rostami and Kaveh’s flat in Renown, Shoeburyness, during a search warrant in April 2015.
The court heard the pair were the main players in the drugs ring. Sentencing for both men was adjourned until today, January 12.
Two other men were jailed on March 21, 2016. Asadollah Zare, 40, unemployed, formerly of Cowpar Mews, Braintree, admitted conspiracy to supply mephedrone and was jailed for four years. Ebrahim Zare, 42, unemployed, formerly of Cowpar Mews, Braintree, pleaded not guilty but was convicted and jailed for two years.
Speaking after today’s sentencing hearing, Detective Superintendent Mark Hall, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “The sentences handed out today and the judge’s sentencing remarks reflect the gravity of the criminal offending in this case and the impact it had upon the victim.
“Her victim impact statement, which was read in court, makes clear the devastating effect these defendants had on a vulnerable child who was targeted, groomed and given drugs, before then being sexually exploited by both the defendants and other men. I hope that these convictions and the sentences will enable those affected to move forward with their lives.
“The conspiracy to supply drugs, which was also subject of sentence today, reflected a long running, organised and widespread criminal enterprise, which saw drugs distributed across Chelmsford and South Essex. Rostami and Kaveh were motivated by greed. They supplied drugs to children and in peddling this filth onto our streets I have no doubt they have damaged lives and caused untold misery.
“There is no greater priority for Essex Police than to protect those who are vulnerable or exploited and to bring to justice the criminals who target and take advantage of them.
“These sentences represent the conclusion of a complex and long running investigation and I pay tribute firstly to the courage of the victims and witnesses and also to the dedication and professionalism of all those who have worked tirelessly on this case.”