Two couriers were found with Â£ 18,000 in a van at a petrol station after traveling to Wales to collect drug money.
Durim Mytro, 48, and Geni Dragjoshi, 34, were arrested by police at Raglan Services, off the A40 in Monmouthshire, after traveling from Birmingham to collect money generated by cannabis farms .
The awkward couple told officers they visited Cardiff or Newport but could not recall which city they visited.
They both denied that the money was the proceeds of drug trafficking, but were found guilty of possession of criminal property following a trial in Cardiff Crown Court.
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At their sentencing hearing on Friday, the court heard that the defendants were apprehended around midnight on September 12, 2018, after their van smelled of cannabis resin.
Judge David Wynn Morgan said a search of the van found Â£ 18,360 in a bag under the floor, along with a small amount of cocaine belonging to Dragjoshi.
He added: “The only explanation the jury can think of for you to be in this place at this time of night away from home is that you are sending this money back to people in Birmingham.
“The court inferred that you were sending this money on behalf of individuals running cannabis factories in South Wales.
âSuch factories are prevalent and operate in this particular way, because the people who do the dirty work are not the ones who created them in the first place or who derive any benefit from them. You were both used by individuals in your community who had no shame in offering paltry sums to do this work in order to be safe from investigation and apprehension. “
In mitigation, Stefan Bisson for Dragjoshi said his client was an asylum seeker who turned to Class A drugs after being separated from his wife and children, but has now changed his life and is drug free.
He added, “It was clearly an act of desperation on Mr. Dragjoshi’s part to earn some quick money to support his family.”
Graeme Logan, for Mytro, said his client’s violation was over two and a half years old. He lived with his wife in Birmingham and had been unemployed for some time, but now has a job offer.
Upon sentencing, Judge Morgan said: “There has been a substantial delay in this case by the Covid pandemic and the fact that neither of you stood up and admitted the allegations. The reality is that ‘neither of you had a defense against the allegations, you just blamed each other and walked out with absurd stories about what you were doing that night there. “
Mytro, of Caversham Road, Birmingham, and Dragjoshi, of Gomer Street, Walsall, were both sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.