Man smuggled £160k of cannabis through Wolverhampton train station

A Chinese man could be deported after admitting transporting more than £160,000 of cannabis through Wolverhampton train station.

Ben Chen, 29, who lived in Glasgow, was caught on two separate occasions with a suitcase full of skunk cannabis, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The first, in March 2013, saw him captured in Carlisle with 7.79kg of the drug in a suitcase on a train which had come from Wolverhampton.

Nine months later, in January this year, he was arrested again, along with two others, with a suitcase crammed with 9kg of cannabis.

Chen, who admitted to two counts of possession with intent to supply cannabis, was arrested with Lin Jie, 26, also from Glasgow, and Xiao Yao, 23, of no fixed address.

Jie admitted one charged of possession with intent to supply cannabis, while Yao admitted possessing criminal damage.

Mr John Evans, prosecuting, said: "On March 15, 2013, Ben Chen on his own was responsible for transporting 7.79kg of skunk cannabis in a suitcase from at least Wolverhampton railway station, bound for Glasgow, but was intercepted in Carlisle.

"He had been noticed getting on the train and keeping a careful eye on the suitcase."

Mr Evans said when police officers opened the suitcase they found vacuum packed bags filled with cannabis of weights between 3kg and smaller quantities.

"If that was sold wholesale it would be worth between £31,000 and £39,000, but if it was sold in street deals of one gram it would be worth just under £71,000," he added.

He told the court that on January 9 this year that the three defendants were seen on Hagley Road in Birmingham by Norfolk Hotel before getting on getting a taxi to Wolverhampton railway station.

Mr Evans said: "They were seen acting suspiciously in the cafe, and Ben Chen had a suitcase, while Xiao Yao had a beige handbag.

"She had £14,634 mainly in £20 notes. The suitcase had 9kg of cannabis inside, with one 2kg wrap and the rest 1kg.

"In bulk this would have cost between £36,000 and £45,000, and in street deals would be £90,000.

"To describe them simply as couriers is belittling their role."

Mr Robert Parry, for Chen, said: "In connection with financial gain, he said was to receive £100."

He said Chen had been in the country for eight years and had worked in various restaurants as a chef, but admitted he was probably not permitted to.

Mrs Geraldine Toal, for Yao, said: "She told me she was asked to carry it from A to B and that was it.

"She had been living under the auspices of friends and that is why she was asked to carry it."

Andrew Wallace, for Jie, said his client had no more than simply a glance of the drugs.

Judge Robin Onions sentenced Chen to 14 months in prison for the first charge and 16 months for the second.

He said: "I am satisfied that you performed a significant role. You may be deported. That is not down to me."

Judge Onions sentenced Yao to 12 months in prison and Jie to 20 weeks in prison.

He said to Jie: "You are fortunate to receive the sentence that you do but it has to be done in accordance with the guidelines."