Police officers seized cocaine with a street value of £240,000 when they stopped a car on the M62 – which led to jail terms for two Kirklees men.
Leeds Crown Court heard on Friday when three men were jailed that the Nissan was returning from Liverpool where 62-year-old Almondbury man Penderel Evans who was driving and Kevin Margison, his passenger from Cleckheaton, had collected the drugs haul.
Tim Capstick, prosecuting, said the 994g of white powder found in a package under the front passenger seat proved to be of high purity cocaine with very little mixing agent.
The seizure was made on August 18, 2012, after Evans had collected Margison in Cleckheaton that morning before driving to the Everton district of Liverpool.
They had been provided with a mobile phone bought the previous evening from ASDA in Bradford Road, Huddersfield, on which to link with their contact and provided with postcode for the meeting place.
Once they got to the area they were approached by Paul Long who got into the car confirming payment was in order before he left and returned with the package of drugs hidden under his clothing.
The vehicle was then driven into the centre of Liverpool to an underground car park under the Unity Building where Long took a holdall to the fourth floor although it was not known to whom.
The two couriers then began their drive back to West Yorkshire with the cocaine which was six times as pure as the average seizure in the area.
The court heard Evans and Margison blamed each other for the drugs.
David McGonigal for Evans said he had never been in trouble before and had played a limited function as a driver under direction with no awareness of the amount of drugs involved or its purity.
He had health problems which would make prison difficult for him.
Charlotte Eastwood for Margison said he too had no understanding of the scale of the operation. While awaiting trial he had found full-time employment and supported his family.
Sarah Griffin for Long said he became involved as a way of paying off a drug debt.
Long, 33 of Latham Street, Liverpool, who admitted conspiracy to supply the class A drug was jailed for five years.
Evans, of Fernside Crescent, Almondbury and Margison, 38, of Union Road, Heckmondwike, who were found guilty by a jury earlier this month of conspiracy to supply were each jailed for three and a half years.
Judge Rodney Jameson QC said Long was sufficiently trusted to have the drugs at his home and to take the money and deliver it while Margison and Evans were described by the Crown as “mules”.
He said they were unaware of any surveillance until they were arrested and the drugs seized which as a result “have not gone on to the market in West Yorkshire or elsewhere.”
After the case Det Insp Neil Hollis said: “Evans and Margison were caught red-handed trying to smuggle in significant amounts of cocaine into our county and together with Long now have prison sentences to look forward to as a result.”
“They were caught through a combination of good police work by roads policing officers and thorough investigation by detectives to bring all three to justice.”
“The cocaine we discovered was of a high purity and a high value and there is no doubt that the arrest and conviction of these men has cut off a significant pipeline through which criminals were transporting Class A drugs into West Yorkshire.”
“Once again we have proven that the police are committed to putting drug dealers behind bars and to disrupting the supply of illegal drugs in West Yorkshire. We will now investigate to see what monies can be recovered from these men under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”