Lancashire Police discover £1million stash of South American cocaine after tracing stolen motorbike to Manchester
A man has been jailed for 7 and a half years after Lancashire Police officers uncovered £1million in high-grade South American cocaine after tracing a stolen motor bike to a home in Manchester.
Iman Chalouskri, 25, of Newton Heath, was jailed for 7 years and 6 months at Manchester Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, February 9) after pleading guilty to being concerned in supplying class A drugs.
He had been arrested in September last year after officers from Chorley's Neighbourhood Policing team and task force traced a stolen motorbike to his home 30 miles away.
But whilst searching his home for the stolen bike, officers came across a padlocked metal black box underneath the stairs.
"The situation soon spiraled into something completely unexpected," said Sgt Harrison of Chorley Police.
He said: "My officers located a locked metal box and within the box was a black rucksack containing 10kg of cocaine.
"This was tested and was a high 84% purity with an approximate street value of a staggering £1.5million."
The block-packages of cocaine were wrapped in plastic sheets donning images of the Ecuadorian flag.
Chorley Police called their colleagues from GMP to the scene and Chalouskri was arrested and taken to custody. He claimed during interview that a friend asked him to store some items at his home whilst he was away but that he didn’t know there were drugs inside the box.
But at court yesterday, officers described how Chalouskri's demeanor changed immediately and he began to sweat profusely and become argumentative after the discovery.
An investigation was launched by GMP's North Manchester CID, and further examination of the contents of the packages confirmed its contents were high-grade cocaine, worth a street value in excess of £1million.
Further work on Chalouskri's phone found videos he had taken of substantial amounts of cash that appeared to be in his possession.
Prosecution Barrister Denise Fitzpatrick told the court how Chalouskri was playing a 'significant role' in the supply of the drugs by being a 'highly-trusted custodian'.
Barrister Fitzpatrick added how it was inconceivable for Chalouskri to not know that such a large amount of class A drugs were in his possession, as he had initially indicated.
After being charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and being faced with unsurmountable evidence, Chalouskri pleaded guilty in December 2020 before being sentenced today to seven years and six months in jail.
Sgt Harrison of Chorley Police has praised his officers and their "diligent work" in tracing the motorbike uncovering the million-pound stash of drugs.
"It is another fantastic result for the Chorley and South Ribble Neighbourhood Police and Task Force teams," he said.
"We did a sting for a stolen motorbike and came across this. It's the result of some really diligent work from my officers, from the arrest to the searching of the house.
"And the detectives at GMP were exceptional from start to finish of the investigation."
Detective Constable Terry MacMillan, of GMP's North Manchester CID, said it is "difficult to comprehend just how much damage these drugs would’ve done" if the officers from Chorley had not sought out Chalouskri at his home 30 miles away and uncovered the million-pound stash.
He said: "This is quite a staggering case where over a £1million's worth of class A drugs were found locked in a suitcase under Chalouskri's stairs, and it is vitally important that this substantial, high-grade stash has been seized from the hands of a criminal.
"It is difficult to comprehend just how much damage these drugs would’ve done to the many people who would’ve been involved in its subsequent dissemination and consumption had police not recovered it first.
"Despite Chalouskri initially attempting to plead innocence in this case, it is clear once the evidence was laid bare to him that he was unable to oppose the facts and he now has a lengthy time behind bars to reflect on his offending."