Cabbie Abdaul Alboghobaish, 61, told a jury he had no idea the package he was asked to transport was filled with cocaine.
Alboghobaish was caught with a quarter of a kilo of cocaine in his vehicle, which he says was given to him by a man in Coventry to deliver to an address in Plymouth.
He also denied that several journeys made to London, where he stayed for a few hours, were to pick up cocaine or heroin. As reported in the Plymouth Live, prosecutors claim Alboghobaish brought drugs back to Plymouth for suspected gang leader Nathaniel Freeman. Alboghobaish said although Freeman was a regular customer, on this occasion of travelling to Coventry, the trip was arranged by a man called Antonio, who was not present in the court. Alboghobaish is one of eight people facing a jury as part of an alleged plot to bring cocaine and heroin to Plymouth from London and the West Midlands – and in one case Jamaica. Alboghobaish was stopped by police on 18 October 2017, while driving along the M5 near Exeter. Police had been tracking his journeys over a period of a few months using mobile phone contacts with nearby masts and Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. When challenged about three trips that were tracked to London, the defendant said he could not recall two of the journeys, saying he often took fares to London or went to visit a friend. The other journey to London was to take co-defendant Jordane Morris, who he picked up from her home in Holsworthy, Alboghobaish claimed. He added Jordane stayed at a house which he dropped her at for an hour while he waited. He said he then took her back home. Jordane Morris is accused of taking a two-week holiday in Jamaica to smuggle back another quarter kilo batch of cocaine back to Britain in August to September 2017. Freeman, 33, known to be the drug gang’s leader, allegedly organised the trip to Jamaica.
Alboghobaish is not being accused of being involved in any smuggling efforts. His barrister Ali Rafati asked him: “Did you have any idea that the package contained drugs of any kind?” Alboghobaish replied: “No.” Alboghobaish, of King Street, Stonehouse; Freeman, of Darmoor View, Saltash; Steven Doukoure, aged 25; Matthew Hitcham-Alexander, aged 23, of New George Street in the city centre; and 22-year-old Akiel Thomas, of North Road West, Stonehouse, have all denied two joint charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Freeman and Doukoure, of Hyde Park Road, Mutley; 27-year-old Morris, of North Road, Holsworthy; Ryan Chard, aged 37, of Grimscott near Bude, and Warren Campbell, aged 39, of Islington, London, all deny importing a Class A drug. The trial continues at Plymouth Crown Court.
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