A DRUGS mule who was caught with £100,000 of amphetamine concealed in a secret compartment in a high-end car has been jailed.

Cleveland Police pulled Adam Dowd’s modified Chrysler over on the A19 in June and a police dog sniffed out the drugs hidden in a compartment which could only be opened using a hydraulic lever concealed beneath a seat.

The haul, which was being smuggled into Teesside from Liverpool, is believed to be among the biggest single discoveries of drugs by the force.

The Northern Echo:

Adam Dowd was jailed for four years, eight months at Teesside Crown Court today after pleading guilty to possession of class B drugs with intent to supply.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said his silver Chrysler Grand Voyager was pulled over by officers on mobile patrol close to the junction of the A174 and A19 on June 27.

An initial search did not find anything significant but a drugs sniffer dog gave a ‘strong indication’ that there were illegal substances there, so a closer search was carried out.

Officers found that the vehicle, which was registered to Dowd and insured in his name, had been modified to contain a secret compartment connected to a hydraulic arm. They forced the compartment open to find 20 packets of drugs which were tested and found to be amphetamine.

Ms Haigh said he had a previous conviction for producing cannabis and had been previously jailed for four years.

Michele Turner, mitigating on behalf of Dowd, who is from Birkenhead, Merseyside, said: “The defendant didn’t know what was in the secret compartment. As a result of the cannabis farm being found he was still found liable for the loss of those plants and them coming to the attention of the authorities.”

She said he had been working in Wales to pay back the debt he was seen to owe to dealers higher up in the chain, but the contract had finished and he had got into arrears with his rent.

“His father took out £10,000 to pay his drug debts,” she said.

Despite this he still owed money and Ms Turner said he was told to get the Chrysler and take it to a garage for the modifications before driving it to Teesside.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “You were stopped in this Chrysler coming from Liverpool. That is a fairly well-travelled path for drugs into Middlesbrough.

“There was a secure compartment which was a very sophisticated piece of kit, to secure drugs under the floor of your boot, with a metal sheet on top.

“It was clearly deliberately designed to frustrate police who might search without a dog and not realise it was there.

“While I credit the idea that you are not the person who is the owner of these drugs, no-one is trusted with that level of drugs without some understanding of what they are doing. I am not satisfied that you did not play a significant role in this.”