A taxi driver who used his cab to deal significant amounts of cocaine around Neath and Port Talbot has been jailed.
Gary O’Connor was described in court as being “heavily involved” in distributing the drug around the area -something a judge called a “wicked trade”.
According to the South Wales Even-ing Post, Swansea Crown Court heard that when police swooped on O’Connor’s cab on Neath’s Milland Road on January 9 they found he had more than 100 individual wraps of cocaine in the vehicle. The value of the drugs was put at some £4,800.
Janet Gedrych, prosecuting, said the 46-year-old told officers “I haven’t been doing it long — I did it to scrape by.”
O’Connor, of Dudley Street in Neath town centre, pleaded guilty to possession of the Class A drug with intent to supply when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
The court heard he has no previous convictions.
Andrew Evans, for O’Connor, said his client had been working extremely long hours in his cab which had placed him under “great strain”.
He said O’Connor began misusing cocaine and ran up drugs debts - he then started dealing to earn money to pay what he owned, and to feed his own habit.
The advocate said O’Connor had since quit the taxi business, and found work in a supermarket.
He added that O’Connor hadn’t been selling drugs to his passengers, but had used the vehicle to get around to do his dealing under directions from people “further up the chain”.
Judge Geraint Walters said police had found a significant amount of cocaine on O’Connor - and that people who deal in Class A drugs could expect prison.
He told the defendant: “You were obviously very heavily involved in distributing this drug, and you were doing it while driving around in your taxi which was your only legitimate form of income. The courts need to seek to deter people from becoming involved in this wicked trade.” Sending O’Connor down for 32 months, the judge said: “This is a hard lesson to learn - but people like you need to learn it.”