A courier caught travelling from Liverpool to Newcastle with £200,000 of cocaine hidden inside a car tyre has been jailed for six years.
Darryl Scott was followed by officers as he travelled to an industrial area of Bootle, Liverpool to collect the concealed drugs on May 15 last year.
After collecting his haul, the 32-year-old mule then secured the cocaine out of sight in a specially-made compartment underneath his white Peugeot van.
Surveillance operatives swiftly monitored the vehicle as it made its way back to Tyneside before officers from Northumbria Police stopped it on the A19 near the Tyne tunnel.
During a search of the van officers soon uncovered nine packages of white powder, later identified as cocaine with an estimated street value of up to £200,000.
Scott was quickly arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply a Class A drug, but during interview told officers he thought he was only collecting cannabis.
However, his lies were laid bare when specialist officers cracked open his encrypted device as part of Operation Venetic – revealing scores of messages instructing him to collect the cocaine.
Scott, of Kielder Terrace North Shields, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A drug at Newcastle Crown Court and on December 22 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Speaking after the sentencing Detective Inspector Steve Pescod from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) said: “Serious and organised crime has no place in our communities and anyone involved in the supply and distribution of illicit substances can expect to be pursued by our officers and brought before the courts.
“Darryl Scott was knowingly involved in the supply of harmful substances and when he was caught, he tried to save his own skin by lying to officers and claiming he didn’t know what he was collecting, trying to land himself a more lenient punishment.
“But thanks to the hard work of our officers, Scott was proven to be a liar and when the evidence against him was overwhelming, he fully admitted his lie and pleaded guilty. I’m pleased with the sentence passed down today and hope it shows that no matter what your role is, if you are involved in serious crime – we will pursue you under the banner of Operation Sentinel.”