TWO Albanian drug couriers received jail sentences after they were caught with more than one kilograms of cannabis worth up to £90,000.
Andrian Gjurra, 32, from Barnsley, and Bogdan Mandita, 37, from Rotherham, were stopped on the A19 in North Yorkshire as they travelled from Sunderland to Sheffield with 14 ‘large bags’ of the Class B drug.
Prosecutor Kelly Clarke said that two traffic officers were on patrol near Thirsk when they stopped the car on the southbound carriageway at about 6pm on May 17.
Mandita was the driver and Gjurra was in the passenger seat, she added.
Police found 14 ‘large bags’ of cannabis inside the vehicle.
The bags contained 1,300g of cannabis - worth between £40,000 and £90,000 if sold on the street.
Mandita told police he was a taxi driver, but Ms Clarke said it wasn’t clear if a fare had been paid.
Both men ultimately admitted transporting the drugs or being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
They appeared for sentence via video link last week after being remanded in custody since their arrest.
Ms Clarke said the two men would have been trusted by criminals further up the drug chain to courier the drugs from the North-East to South Yorkshire.
Barrister Benjamin Bell, for Mandita, said: “He understands that he’s done wrong.”
Gjurra’s solicitor advocate said his client and Mandita had spent five months on remand, the equivalent of a ten-month jail sentence.
Recorder Dafydd Enoch KC said that because the two men had been trusted by their criminal overlords to transport such a huge amount of drugs, it meant they had both played a ‘significant’ role in the enterprise.
But he told the defendants he had to ‘approach your sentence with a degree of common sense and practicality’.
Mr Enoch said that current sentencing guidelines for drug couriering meant that both men must be given prison terms of less than a year and because they had spent the equivalent of ten months on remand, the sentence he intended to pass would trigger their immediate release from custody.
Mandita was given a seven-month jail sentence and Gjurra, of Shambles Street, Barnsley, received a six-month prison term.
Mr Enoch told them: “These sentences will allow your immediate release unless there are any immigration issues, and I don’t understand there will be any.”