Cocaine smuggler caught in Bideford is jailed

A drugs courier who was caught in Bideford carrying out a second cocaine run to Devon has been jailed for 30 months. Exeter Crown Court heard 22-year-old Shaun Cunningham was involved with a total of �25,000 worth of cocaine and his second trip to the

A drugs courier who was caught in Bideford carrying out a second cocaine run to Devon has been jailed for 30 months.

Exeter Crown Court heard 22-year-old Shaun Cunningham was involved with a total of �25,000 worth of cocaine and his second trip to the county was brought to a halt when police pulled him over for speeding.

Prosecutor Nigel Wraith said when officers searched Cunningham's Dodge Caliber on the A379 near Bideford they uncovered �10,640 worth of cocaine hidden in the interior roof lining of the vehicle.

The prosecutor said less than two months before, Cunningham had been involved in a similar exercise where he met others in the delivery operation at the Gordano services. The closed circuit surveillance cameras at the motorway service area showed 26-year-old Andrew Blake who had travelled from Devon in another vehicle getting into Cunningham's car. When he re-emerged his hoodie was bulging and later when police stopped his vehicle on the motorway they found just under �15,000 worth of cocaine concealed under the bonnet in the engine compartment.

When he was interviewed, Cunningham made full confessions as to both drug runs saying that he was acting as a courier and was being paid around �200 a time to bring the drugs from the North down to Devon.

Mr Wraith said Blake made no comment in interview even after his fingerprints were found on the package under the bonnet. He was later to say that he had been put under some pressure to become involved but accepted it did not amount to a defence of duress.

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Cunningham from Flintshire pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing cocaine with intent to supply it and Blake from Cornwall admitted one similar charge. He was jailed for 21 months.

Passing sentence Judge Graham Cottle told the pair: "Those who smuggle cocaine into the West Country are committing serious offences and there is no alternative to immediate and substantial prison terms.

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