Man jailed for million-pound South American cocaine conspiracy
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A man from Manchester who was found to be storing over £1million's worth of class A drugs from South America has been jailed for over seven years.
Iman Chalouskri (12/11/1995), of Mainhill Walk, Newton Heath, was sentenced yesterday (Tuesday 9 February) at Manchester Crown Court (Crown Square) after previously pleading guilty to being concerned in supplying controlled drugs of class A.
Chalouskri was found to have 10kg of cocaine when officers from Lancashire Police attended his address as part of their enquiries into a stolen motorcycle.
When officers went inside the property they found a padlocked metal black box underneath the stairs, and officers described how Chalouskri's demeanour changed immediately as he started to sweat profusely and become argumentative after the police's discovery.
The court heard that inside the box was a black suitcase containing several block-packages of drugs donning images of the Ecuador flag.
He was arrested and taken to custody where he claimed during interview that a friend asked him to store some items at his address while he was away but that he didn’t know there were drugs inside the box.
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.
Detective Constable Terry MacMillan, of GMP's North Manchester CID, 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."