"On any view, he's about to receive a very significant sentence indeed."
Tanzeel Rehman, aged 24, of Stechford, Birmingham, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Warwick Crown Court on Thursday, January 17, 2019, for possessing a large amount of cocaine and intending to supply it.
The taxi driver acted as a courier in a drug smuggling racket and was found with an estimated £400,000 worth of cocaine inside the vehicle.
It was heard Rehman was returning from a trip to Luton with the consignment of high-purity cocaine in his taxi when he was stopped as he left the M6 at Castle Bromwich.
Traffic cameras showed Rehman had driven to Luton where he met someone in another car and an exchange took place.
Simon Burch, prosecuting, said Rehman, who had no previous convictions, then immediately set off to drive back to the Midlands.
The National Crime Agency had been monitoring his journey and stopped him.
Inside his vehicle, they found four one-kilo blocks of cocaine which were 98% pure behind the passenger seat.
Four individual wraps of cocaine, for Rehman’s use, were also found in a tin in the driver’s door.
No official figure was given during Rehman’s hearing but other recent cases suggest the cocaine may be worth at least £400,000 once it had been divided into street deals.
Currently, there is no further evidence to suggest Rehman was anything more than someone who transported the drugs.
Mr Burch said: “We are unable to prove anything other than that the defendant was a courier.”
Tarlochan Dubb, defending Rehman, conceded that his client’s role will certainly see him jailed.
He said: “On any view, he’s about to receive a very significant sentence indeed.
“My best point is that he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity at this court, and the prosecution accepts the basis that he is no more and no less than a trusted courier.
“He’s been a taxi driver for three years, and apart from this, he’s led a law-abiding and useful life. His family are utterly devasted at the predicament he now finds himself in.”
At his hearing, Rehman pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
Judge Peter Cooke told Rehman: “Notwithstanding your youth and your lack of antecedents, it is apparent that you had lent yourself to a class A drug dealing enterprise in which, no doubt for a reward, you were prepared to play the role of courier.
“Your occupation as a taxi driver made your movements appear innocuous, but you were found in possession of four packages of very high purity cocaine.”
The judge also ordered a mobile phone found in the vehicle to be confiscated and destroyed. The phone had been used as a sat-nav to guide Rehman to his exchange in Luton.
Tanzeel Rehman was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.