Police officers who stopped Shane Cameron found groceries on the back seat of the car he was driving – and nearly half a million pounds in the boot.
Cameron, a court heard today, was a “cash courier” for an organised crime network.
He was involved in the transfer of dirty money made by the gang to the money launderers whose job it was to clean it up.
As a result he appeared at a Luton crown court today (Friday) where he admitted a charge of possessing criminal property.
Judge Gary Lucie sentence 24-year-old Cameron from Bishopstone House, Bishopstone Court, Ashburnham Road, Bedford to 16 months behind bars.
The court heard it was around 10pm on the night of 8 December last year when officers from a specialised team investigating money laundering and organised crime networks, were keeping observations on two vehicle parked in Gardenia Avenue, Luton.
One was a silver Volkswagen Golf and the other was a grey Vauxhall Astra.
As officers moved in to question the driver of the VW he tried to speed off only to collide with other parked cars.
It turned out he had nothing to do with the police surveillance operation.
At the same time Cameron, who was the sole occupant in the Astra, found his getaway was blocked by the police and having been told to get out of the vehicle was placed in handcuffs.
Prosecutor Avirup Chaudhuri said when asked if there was anything in the car that shouldn’t be, Cameron answered “No.”
Officers looked in the car and found groceries were on the back seat.
But when they opened the boot, bundles of bank notes were found in two carrier bags which totalled £450,380.
Mr Chaudhuri said an iPhone being used by Cameron was seized, which when examined was found to contain messages relating to post codes and “tokens.”
The prosecutor explained it led detectives to conclude he was a courier whose job was to transfers the cash proceeds of criminal activity to money launderers who would clean it up so that it could be used by the gang bosses.
He explained that the post codes indicated handover locations between couriers and the “token system” was to ensure the money was handed over to the right person.
The courier for the money launderers would text the unique serial number from a bank note to the courier for the crime network bringing the cash to the rendezvous.
At the meeting the gang’s driver would be handed the banknote to check it had the correct serial number before handing over the cash. He would retain the note to show his bosses he has done his part.
Alesdair King defending said his client had been working for the gang for financial gain and it wasn’t the first money drop he had been involved in.
The court was told Cameron’s parents were not in the best of health and he was anxious to serve his sentence so that he could help them.
Judge Lucie said the money he was found with that night was likely to have come from drug offences.
He jailed Cameron for of 16 months telling him he would have to serve half that time behind bars before he would be released on licence