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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Craig McGlasson & Neal Keeling

Cocaine courier caught with £100k block told by judge: 'Stay off the gear'

A cocaine courier was was given a stark warning by a judge after being found with £100,000-worth of the Class A drug. Asllan Byberi, 31, was told: "Stay off the gear."

He was warned his jail terms will be 'ever increasing' unless he changes his ways. Byberi, from Rochdale, was caught by cops making a delivery in Cumbria, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke said Byberi was stopped at around 4.30pm on March 1. He was driving his brother's Volkswagen Golf, heading south on the M6 near junction 42.

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Byberi seemed nervous, prompting officers to search the car. A bag containing a block of white powder was found under the front passenger seat.

This was found to be 1.1kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of around £100,000. Byberi initially gave false details to police.

Immigration papers were later found, which proved the information he had given was false. Byberi was arrested. Hauled before a judge, he later admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

The prosecution accepted he was a courier for crooks further up the criminal chain and that he had been making a one-off trip. Byberi also admitted driving without insurance on his brother's car.

Mitigating, defence lawyer Oliver Jarvis said Byberi's partner was heavily pregnant with their first child while he was in prison. Byberi had made a fateful decision to transport the cocaine as he sought to pay off a debt he had racked up through his own substance misuse.

Mr Jarvis said that while Byberi had created a life for himself, it had then been ruined by his latest crimes.. Byberi was jailed for four-and-a-half years by Judge Andrew Jefferies KC, who said his offending was aggravated by two factors.

The first was that the defendant had provided false details to police after the motorway stoppage. The second was the fact he had received a 37-month prison sentence almost a decade ago at Basildon Crown Court.

"For exactly the same offence and possession of identity documents on that occasion as well," the judge said. "In my judgement, the aggravating features increase the sentence.

"I'm sure you've been told this already," added Judge Jefferies. "If you don’t stay off the gear and you start being involved in drugs again, the next sentence will start at seven years and that will be ever-increasing."

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