Pjerin Lleshi was behind the wheel of a black Audi on the Ponteland road, Newcastle, at 8.40 pm on July 3 this year. The police system was flagged as having links to criminal offenses so officers stopped it.
Lleshi got out from the driver’s side and tried to escape but was caught after a foot chase. In the trunk of the car, the officers found two large bags of life, which contained several large vacuum packages of cannabis and a Nokia phone. When he was caught, he told Lishi, “I was just driving.”
When the drugs were examined, they were found to weigh 9 kilos, with a value ranging between £29,750 and £42,500. A police narcotics expert said the amount of drugs they were charged with would be on the way to being broken down for “street-level drug dealers” to sell in smaller quantities.
Lleshi, 20, without a fixed address, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply it and was imprisoned for seven and a half months in Newcastle Crown Court. He will be released immediately due to the time he has been in pre-trial detention.
Registrar David Kelly told him: “You are an Albanian citizen and entered the UK illegally for the purposes of carrying out lawful work, not for criminal purposes.
“You were doing it purely for financial gain, £400, which is a lot. I suspect you thought it was a lot too, otherwise you wouldn’t risk transporting the drugs.”
Defender Brian Mark said he was paid £300 to £400 to drive from A to B after coming to the UK. He added, “He didn’t see the bags, he didn’t know how much cannabis was there. He didn’t know there were 9 kilograms.”
“He was adept at taking risks. He was shocked when I explained how big it was.
After he was smuggled into the UK he was told ‘do you need some money well and go see Smithy’. He has spent five months in custody and is likely to leave the UK. ”