Driver caught with £25k of drug money on passenger seat

Valter Selimaj

Valter Selimaj was jailed for three years at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A drug dealer who transported £25,000 of cash inside a carrier bag on the passenger seat of his uninsured car has been jailed for three years.

Valter Selimaj was caught with the bag of money and 90 wraps of cocaine after being pulled over in a Ford Focus in Newmarket at 11.35am on Monday, September 27.

Drugs and cash seized from Valter Selimaj

Drugs and cash seized from Valter Selimaj - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

The 25-year-old, of no fixed address, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday to admit possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of criminal property and driving without insurance.

Prosecutor Simon Gladwell said Selimaj gave police a false name and date of birth after being pulled over in King Edward VII Road.

A search of the vehicle turned up 60 bags of cocaine inside a chewing gum pot in the glove compartment and another 30 inside a deodorant can in the driver's door pocket.

A bag containing £20-25,000 was found inside a carrier bag on the passenger seat, while a mobile phone was found to contain a picture of Selimaj pretending to use a wad of cash as a telephone, along with a photograph of a 'tick list' of owed sums totalling £9,905. 

Michael McAlinden, mitigating, said Selimaj was smuggled into the country from Albania two years ago and had been working off a £22,000 debt to traffickers when he lost his carwash job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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"He had no income and accepted an offer to deal drugs on behalf of someone," added Mr McAlinden.

"He wasn't directly involved in the profits. He was asked to courier the money from one place to another."

Judge Martyn Levett said Newmarket had clearly been receiving a considerable amount of recent attention from drug dealers patrolling the area with substantial quantities of class A drugs.

He said evidence indicated that up to 2,500 wraps would need to have been sold in order to raise the amount of cash seized from Selimaj, who, he added, must have been a trusted member of the syndicate to carry round such significant sums. 

Judge Levett said drug dealing had become a "blight on society" – both in terms of the human and economic cost.

"Lives are being destroyed by people's addiction," he added.

"For this reason, those who are selling drugs should be punished appropriately, and severely, when necessary."

Selimaj was jailed for three years and handed eight penalty points on his driving licence.