Bradford Telegraph and ArgusCocaine courier gets six years (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Cocaine courier gets six years

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chukwuma Chikwelu Chukwuma Chikwelu

A drug courier caught on his way from London to Bradford with a kilogram of cocaine stuffed down his trousers has been jailed for six years.

Illegal immigrant Chukwuma Chikwelu was snared at Leeds Railway Station after a police surveillance operation, Bradford Crown Court heard.

He admitted it was his sixth run from the capital to Bradford with cocaine and that dealers had so far paid him £4,000.

Judge Peter Benson said Chikwelu ferried a substantial amount of the drug.

"Cocaine and heroin are a scourge here in Bradford. They are particularly addictive and a great deal of crime and misery results from this trade," the judge said.

He said Chikwelu, who came to the UK from Nigeria, via Germany, was essentially alone in the country and vulnerable to the attentions of others who sought him out as a drug runner.

Prosecutor Tim Capstick said Chikwelu pleaded guilty on December 19 to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

He was arrested at Leeds station on September 24 with two bags of cocaine hidden down his trousers.

The drug weighed 994 grams and had a street value of £40,000. Police also found £350 on Chikwelu and two mobile phones.

He told detectives he was delivering drugs from London to Bradford for £400 a time, plus expenses.

He said it was his sixth trip and two weeks earlier he had delivered half a kilo of cocaine via the same route.

Mr Capstick said the investigation was part of an ongoing police operation.

Gerald Hendron said in mitigation that Chikwelu's visa had run out and he was not able to earn any money.

"He was extremely susceptible, given his immigration status. It was an act of desperation," Mr Hendron said.

Chikwelu was a Nigerian Christian who had been attacked in his native country for his beliefs.

He bore large scars from beatings. He had been a student in Germany and worked as a print manufacturer. Chikwelu stayed on illegally in the UK, living at Staple Street in south east London.

He was approached in a Nigerian bar and asked to ferry the drugs to West Yorkshire.

Mr Hendron said Chikwelu would probably be deported on his release from jail.

After the case Detective Inspector Jonathan Hoyle, of West Yorkshire Police's Crime Division, said: "The role of a courier is an integral part of the drugs trade and vulnerable people are often used.

"The sentence demonstrates that the penalties are severe, and should act as a warning to anyone who is thinking of getting involved."

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