Man caught with £10,000 bag of cannabis in his car
- Credit: Archant
A man trafficked to the UK by an organised crime gang was seen loading a £10,000 bag of herbal cannabis into a car in Watton.
Arber Gjinaj, 20, who was illegally in the UK from Albania, was caught on camera placing the of cannabis into a car parked on a forecourt in February, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Max Hardy, prosecuting, said police searched the car after getting a strong smell of cannabis and found the vacuum-packed bag of herbal cannabis on a seat hidden under a blanket.
Mr Hardy said the cannabis had an estimated street value of £7,500 to £10,000.
Gjinaj from London, admitted being concerned in supplying cannabis and was jailed for 12 months.
Sentencing him, Judge Andrew Shaw said that the case had the hallmarks of being part of a serious organised crime operation.
He accepted that Gjinaj had paid to be trafficked to the UK and had then had to repay the debt.
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He said: "It is very well known that these gangs exploit people that want to come to this country by charging them lots of money for safe passage and then recovering the debt by engaging those same people in organised criminal conduct."
Judge Shaw added: "You were effectively prepared to engage yourself in the commercial supply of cannabis to pay for your illegal entry into this country."
He said that it would be up the Home Office to consider Gjinaj's application for asylum and whether he should be deported after he served his sentence.
Judge Shaw warned him that his case should act as a warning to others who entered the UK illegally and then worked for organised criminal gangs that they would be facing sentences of imprisonment if caught carrying out offences.
Michelle Clarke, for Gjinaj, said that he was trafficked to the UK and said that his role was limited.
"He was obliged to act that day."
She said he had already spent nine weeks on remand in difficult circumstances and had health problems.