A drugs “transporter” caught with 3.4kg of cannabis, a stash of weapons and fake ID in a BMW on the A19 has been jailed.
Middlesbrough patrol cops caught a strong smell of cannabis in the car when they stopped Alessandro Rocco, aka Meritan Zyberi, 31, on the dual carriageway.
They found three bags in the boot – three kilo bags, one half-kilo bag – containing strong cannabis bud, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“The total value attributed to this consignment is £34,000,” said prosecutor Chris Morrison.
“The Crown say he’s a transporter.”
Officers also found three weapons in the car – a baseball bat, a wooden bat and a golf club – on March 10.
Rocco presented a fake Italian driving licence in a false name, which had been used to insure the car that afternoon.
He was using the name Rocco, and the court dealt with him under that name, but it was a pseudonym and his real name was Meritan Zyberi.
He said he came into the UK illegally two years ago and was not trafficked or coerced.
He had driven to the North-east from Manchester with a passenger – for protection, suggested the Crown – but his eventual destination was unknown.
Rocco, of Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, admitted possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply, possessing a false identification document and having no insurance or licence, his first conviction.
Marianna Pasteris, defending, said: “The defendant doesn’t accept an intention to cause injury with the items in the vehicle.”
Judge Jonathan Carroll said the defendant was a “delivery driver”.
He told Rocco: “This is clearly serious high-level offending with a high-value commercial quantity of drugs, with a degree of sophisticated planning in the way that the vehicle was used and insurance obtained the same day with false identification.
“The form of the cannabis was in bud form rather than leaf which is a particularly strong form of the substance.
“You were there with another who was clearly there to assist you and had the use of, if required, the weapons that have been identified.
“Though you were clearly only the driver or deliverer, you clearly had some awareness or understanding of the operation.
“It’s a reasonable inference that you were motivated by financial advantage.”
For his “significant role” in the supply chain, Rocco was jailed for seven months and banned from driving for 16 months.
The judge added: “I direct that this case be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities so far as your immigration status is concerned, but otherwise make no specific direction.
“That’s a matter for the immigration authorities.”