Britain is full of drug dealers going about their business in the most conspicuous ways. Like the gang that set up its cannabis factory right next to a police station, or the urban legend of guys peddling pills hidden inside 99 cones from the windows of ice cream vans. People almost begging to be caught.
The latest addition to the canon are the three men who used a cab to deliver "very high purity" cocaine to the people of the East Midlands. Naeem Iqbal, Ishmal Khan and Yasser Shan have been sentenced to a collective 26 years for running a taxi drug smuggling service in and around Derbyshire. The men were arrested after a VW Passat taxi was pulled over on the M1 with £20,000 of coke stuffed under the front passenger seat. During the trial, the men were accused of regularly making similar trips without ever once collecting any fares.
Khan and Shan pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, while Iqbal was later found guilty following a trial. They have been handed sentences of nine years and seven months, five years and six months and 12 years respectively.
Speaking in court, Detective Sergeant Harry Rai, who led the case, said: "This was a complex investigation into a criminal syndicate who used various methods to distribute high purity cocaine around the country and into Derbyshire. Their tactic of choice was a taxi, thinking their journeys across the country would be less conspicuous. But the only fares they carried were drugs and we were onto them."