A man was caught on a train to Wales with more than 140 wraps of heroin and cocaine up his bottom, a court has heard.
The drugs were found after Zak McDonald, 21, was stopped by police and a drugs gang phone was found, which officers discovered had travelled from Birmingham to west Wales seven times over a few months.
Swansea Crown Court heard how in early 2023, police became aware of a new drugs line operating in Aberystwyth which was sending out bulk messages to users.
The court heard that on 12 March this year the phone made another trip to Wales from the West Midlands and on this occasion police swooped in and arrested the defendant.
The prosecutor said McDonald was found to be in possession of the drug line handset along with £120 in cash, a return train ticket, and a quantity of cannabis.
Officers believed the defendant had further drugs concealed in his body and he was taken to hospital where he refused to be scanned - however natural “bowel movements” subsequently produced two bags containing 68 wraps of heroin and 70 wraps of crack cocaine, with a combined value of more than £2,700.Zak McDonald, aged 21, of Calshot Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, had previously pleaded guilty to the offences when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has two previous convictions for six offences including drug-driving and driving while disqualified.Hannah George, defending McDonald, said his story was "familiar" in so-called county lines cases where a young, vulnerable person was exploited by more criminally sophisticated people “further up the chain” to take the risk of transporting their drugs.
She said the defendant had tried to distance himself from peer pressure in the community and was doing an apprenticeship in engineering but then on the last day of term at college he had been stabbed, a traumatic event which was followed by the deaths of three of his aunties and serious health diagnoses for his mother.
The barrister said her client had a 15-month-old son and wanted to better himself and provide opportunities for his child.Recorder Simon Hughes said he had read eloquent letters written to the court on behalf of the defendant, that he bore in mind the circumstances in which McDonald had grown up, and accepted there had been an element of exploitation and pressure being applied to the defendant by more serious criminals.
The recorder said the appropriate sentence after trial would have been one of three-and-a-half years in prison - but with a discount for his guilty pleas McDonald was sentenced to a total of 28 months in prison. The defendant will serve up to half the sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.