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TWO drugs couriers caught red-handed ferrying £40,000 of high purity cocaine from Bradford to Leeds have been locked up for a total of almost ten years.

Umar Mahmood, 31, of Idle Road, Five Lane Ends, Bradford, was jailed for five years and four months for his role in the plot.

Keashune Williams-Hunte, 18, of Green Pasture Close, Leeds, who arrived in Bradford in a red minicab to pick up the half kilo of cocaine, was sentenced to four years and four months in a young offender institution.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs on February 24 this year.

Prosecutor Michael Collins told Bradford Crown Court yesterday the defendants were under police surveillance when the drugs handover took place near a fish and chip shop on Leeds Road in Bradford.

Williams-Hunte arrived in the cab after phoning for directions on route from his home address.

He asked the driver to wait for five minutes and Mahmood turned up in a white van, the court was told.

The pair were caught on camera carrying out the drugs exchange.

Both vehicles were intercepted by the police and 494 grams of 88 per cent purity cocaine was seized from Williams-Hunte.

Mr Collins said the drug had a value of £39,520 if cut into street deals.

Neither defendant had any previous convictions for drug dealing.

Robin Frieze, for Mahmood, said he had no assets and was in considerable debt.

They were not his drugs but he had willingly agreed to become involved.

Mr Frieze handed up character references, including from Mahmood's employer.

He said Mahmood struggled to break free from those he owed money to. He moved to Leeds and obtained work there but continued to be plagued and came back to Bradford.

Kara Frith, for Williams-Hunte, said the teenager was a college student who made "a very poor decision and one he regrets."

It was out of character and he believed it was drugs money he was couriering, not the actual drugs.

Judge Jonathan Rose said each of the defendants had the ability to lead good and useful lives.

They were controlled by others above them in the supply chain to move the drugs from Bradford to Leeds.

But the drugs were of substantial weight and purity, showing that each defendant was trusted with them.

"The message will go out that when people are caught dealing in Class A drugs they must expect substantial sentences of imprisonment that will be measured in years," Judge Rose said.

He made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act ruling that each man's benefit from drug trafficking was £39,520 and the available amount to be seized from each was £1.

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