A TAXI driver was caught with heroin worth more than a quarter of a million pounds in his car, a court heard.
Police arrested Basharat Hussain, a driver with Leeds city centre-based Aireline Taxis, as he headed along the M62 on his way to deliver seven kilogrammes of the class A drug worth £272,600.
Hussain, 28, was jailed for five years, nine months after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply.
Leeds Crown Court heard officers stopped Hussain between junctions 34 and 35 at Eggborough at 7am on November 17 last year.
Hussain was arrested and immediately told officers he had drugs in a rucksack on the back seat of his vehicle.
He was found in possession of two mobile phones. One of the phones showed he had contacted the same number on ten occasions on the morning of the incident.
John Harrison, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution’s case is that this defendant was a trusted courier operating as a member of a well organised crime group delivering class A drugs.”
Andrew Dallas, mitigating, said Hussain agreed to act as a courier in a bid to pay off a £500 debt to the man who gave him the drugs to deliver.
He said Hussain had borrowed the money as his family were in serious financial trouble.
Mr Dallas said it was the first time Hussain had been involved with drugs and he had no plans to commit further offences. The barrister said Hussain had been “groomed” by a more serious criminal into taking a huge risk by delivering the drugs.
He added: “He was borrowing money out of desperation, having been unable to get it from a traditional source and he has paid the price.
“He has been corrupted by those to whom he owed.”
Recorder Henry Prosser told Hussain: “Had you not got into debt you would not have found yourself in this position.
“A substantial term of imprisonment must follow.”