Drugs mule caught with £500k of cocaine cargo on M6 near Penrith jailed for 80 months

Ashley Makin, 32, has been sentenced to 80 months in prison. Credit: Cumbria Police

A cocaine courier caught as he transported a criminal cargo potentially worth up to half a million pounds up the M6 has been handed an 80-month jail term.

Ashley Makin, 32, was heading north towards Penrith in a black Vauxhall Insignia just before 3pm on 1 July.

Police spotted the car had a light out. An officer illuminated blue lights but instead of stopping, Makin sped off and accelerated to speeds topping 110mph.

When he was stopped several minutes later and was asked whether anything was in the vehicle, he replied: "I’ve been bullied into doing stuff by someone."

A search of the car revealed a black holdall containing five 1kg blocks of cocaine.

A police drugs expert concluded these were each worth £35,000 wholesale and, if high purity and sold on the street, the haul’s potential value could be between £400,000 and £500,000.

When quizzed in custody, Makin initially claimed he didn’t know what was in the bag but later confessed he did know what was inside.

He later admitted possessing the class A drug with intent to supply on the basis that he built up a debt through his cannabis use, and had been told by others to deliver the cargo to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Two further planned journeys from Newcastle to other unknown locations had been called off, he said.

Makin was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on 21 September, where a judge heard he had previously served a five-year prison sentence after he and another man carried out a terrifying armed robbery at a McDonald’s restaurant in Greater Manchester during 2015.

Giving mitigation during today’s hearing, his barrister Amrit Jandoo said of the drugs supply crime: "There has been a level of pressure enforced on this defendant."

Makin, of Cawdor Court, Farnworth, near Bolton, was jailed for a total of six years and eight months.

Judge Simon Medland KC said of illegal class A drugs: "They destroy the lives of those who take them. They break up families. They corrode society."