Criminal gang recruit Salim Patel, aged 32, of Leicester, ran a “highly sophisticated” cash laundering operation from a factory unit.
On April 8, 2021, he was arrested near his unit with £125,070 stashed in an Amazon box inside his Nissan van in Ash Street.
Christopher Jeyes, prosecuting, said as well as the cash in the Amazon box, officers found a further £7,010 in the vehicle and £2,085 in a safe in the industrial unit, where there was a money-counting machine.
When he was asked why he had so much cash, Patel said he did not know before saying:
“It’s just a delivery job.”
A cash ledger in the vehicle revealed that he had already nearly £5 million pounds in a month, believed to be drug-related proceeds.
The ledger also allegedly showed an entry for £4,630 “wages”.
The defence counsel said that it accorded with Patel being a “paid operative” for carrying out instructions and he had no stake in the money being processed.
Patel was tasked with undertaking the “risky business” of receiving delivery of the cash, counting it and packaging it for onward distribution.
Meanwhile, the gang kept out of the limelight.
The ledger also showed that several cash consignments received by Patel averaged at about £120,000. But one receipt showed £300,000.
The consignments referenced Scottish banknotes while mobile phone messages indicated that it was likely to be “drug dealing north of the border”.
Mr Jeyes added: “The Crown can’t prove the exact nature of the criminality involved and do not have to.
“But cash in these sums represents very significant and serious offending.”
Patel admitted two counts of possessing criminal property and one of concealing, disguising or transferring £125,070 of criminal property, as well as a similar count involving £4,692,590, between March 7 and April 8.
In mitigation, Mohammed Qazi said it was a “spectacular fall from grace” for Patel who was a hardworking citizen before a gang recruited him to handle the cash.
Recorder Michael Auty QC said:
“For about a month he was involved in a highly sophisticated money laundering enterprise in which he was entrusted with significant sums of money.
“I’m satisfied a significant proportion of this was down to the trafficking of pernicious drugs.
“It’s a trade so other people can be rich and live high on the hog, utterly unconcerned about the suffering of others.
“The sad reality of those who make millions on the back of the suffering of others is that they often recruit people like the defendant to carry out their dirty work.”
Leicester Mercury reported that Patel was jailed for five years.