A taxi driver who was caught with £12,000 worth of cocaine told a court he took the drug as FARE so he could use it to stay awake and work longer shifts.
Usman Akhlaq, 27, was pulled over on the A50 near Blythe Bridge, Staffs., while transporting two grams worth of the Class-A drug on January 17 this year.
A court heard he had been acting as a courier between Derby and Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., and in return he was paid for his services with cocaine.
The cabbie told police he took the substance because it helped him cope with the extended hours meaning he could make extra money.
He said he turned to the drug after asking fellow drivers how they managed to put in so many extra shifts.
On Thursday Akhlaq, who also admitted selling cannabis, was jailed for three years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Sentencing Judge Paul Glenn said: “A taxi provides a useful cover for someone acting as a drug courier of cocaine.
“You went in with your eyes wide open.
“You stood to gain £140 from a single trip to Derby and back, which must have indicated what you were asked to carry was of significant value.
“It was plainly destined for onward supply.
“Your role is important because couriers enable dealers to go undetected.
“If you choose to get involved in the supply of a highly addictive drug like cocaine and get caught then you must pay the consequences.”
The court had heard Akhlaq was stopped by police at 7.20pm and officers at the scene reported smelling cannabis.
Prosecutor, Fiona Cortese said: “The Toyota Avensis was searched and under the front passenger seat a white plastic bag was found with 68.8 grams of white powder containing cocaine hydrochloride.
“It had a 90 per cent purity and was worth more than £12,000.
“Police also recovered 40 milligrams of cocaine hydrochloride and 1.18 grams of cannabis with a street value of £10.”
In a frank admission Akhlaq told the court: “I was taking cocaine to put in extra hours at work so I could earn extra money.
“I asked other drivers how they were managing to put in extra hours at work and I was told cocaine was keeping them up.”
Officers searched Akhlaq’s girlfriend’s address in Bentilee, Stoke-on-Trent., Staffs., and found more than 130 grams of cannabis vegetation and some cocaine.
They also found a set of digital scales and some clear bags.
Akhlaq, from Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply.
Richard Martin, defending, said: “He has tangled family circumstances, two families and two sets of young children who rely on him.”