15 April 2024: Blackburn, U.K.

Saleem Chaudhri, who was arrested for smuggling cocaine in blocks of gouda cheese during a raid on an industrial unit in Blackburn in May 2023, has been sentenced. The cocaine had a street value of more than £17m. Chaudhri has been jailed since police found the drugs hidden in the cheese and trash bags. Chaudhri, 46 years old, from Blackburn, had worked with courier Rieadul Mohabath, from South Shields in Tyne and Wear, to make more than £70m between 2022 and 2023. Both admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine at Preston Crown Court. Chaudhri was sentenced to 27 years and six months, while Mohabath, 28, was given 16 years. Lancashire Police said “minutes before his arrest” back in May of last year, Chaudhri was seen taking “possession of a Toyota Estate from a drugs courier” and driving it to the Old Fire Station in Blackburn. Officers then ordered him to open the shutters on his unit and found 478 lb of cocaine, estimated to be worth more than £17m, inside. The authorities said Chaudhri had arranged to hand 148 lb to one courier and 139 lb to another on the day of his arrest.