Taxi driver caught with 11kg of cannabis became drug courier in fear of losing Northampton home

The driver claimed he had been threatened with eviction three days before and took the job to make desperately needed cash

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 5:24 pm

A taxi driver fearing eviction from his Northampton home agreed to become a cannabis courier but was nabbed by eagle-eyed police.

Two PCs on routine patrol saw Hikmat Khan Safizada, of Grafton Street, at Southwaite services in Cumbria on March 26. They watched 26-year-old Safizada park up and open the boot of his Mercedes.

“The officers could see two large cardboard boxes inside,” prosecutor Niamh Ingham told Carlisle Crown Court on Tuesday (May 4). “He was seen moving one of the boxes in the boot before closing it.”

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A Northampton taxi driver was caught on the M6 with 11kg of cannabis and a phone directing him to an address in Glasgow.

Safizada drove on to the M6, but was stopped near the city for a search.

His claim of heading to Glasgow airport to pick up two people was challenged by the police, who could smell cannabis and asked where any “passengers” would be able to sit in his cluttered car.

Eleven kilos of the class B drug were found in vacuum-sealed bags along with two mobile phones. One was being used as a sat nav and contained an address in the Glasgow area.

When Safizada’s home at Grafton Street, Northampton, was searched, police found over £10,000 cash stashed in a wardrobe, along with more mobile phones.

In a prepared statement, taxi driver Safizada spoke of receiving an email from his landlord three days earlier threatening him with eviction.

He said he was offered £400 to transport a package to Scotland, and maintained the seized cash didn’t belong to him.

He admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and had been in custody on remand for a month.

Anthony Parkinson, defending, conceded: “It was a decision he made in the full knowledge that he was transporting a large quantity of cannabis, and he knew the consequences should he be caught, which he was.

“References have been provided by people in his local community. In general terms he is a valued member of the community and has brought shame on himself.”

Citing his difficult upbringing, guilty plea, ties to the Northampton area and concluding there was a “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”, Recorder Richard Archer suspended a 16-month jail term for two years. Safizada must complete an activity requirement and 180 hours’ unpaid work.

Recorder Archer said of his criminal cargo: “It is clear this cannabis would have ended up for onward supply and, in due course, onward supply on the street.”