THIS is the first picture of an Albanian drugs courier caught with £30,000 cash and three-quarters of a kilo of cocaine.

Detectives said the amount of cash and cocaine found showed he was clearly involved in large-scale drug dealing.

Maringlen Hysa was driving a specially adapted Vauxhall Astra van when he was stopped by police at the Leigh Delamere services on the M4 in June.

READ MORE: Albanian drugs courier is jailed

When drugs dogs searched the vehicle, they found the interior had been cleverly hollowed-out to provide a hiding place for drugs and cash. Three-quarters of a kilo of cocaine was found which, at a purity of 77 per cent, drugs experts said could have had a street value of more than £60,000.

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Officers found the white powder in three bags Picture: ROCU

Hysa, 36, was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment. The cash was forfeit, with Judge Peter Crabtree ordering the money was paid to the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Det Ch Insp Gavin Webb said: “The sophisticated nature of the hide in Hysa’s van, together with the amount of cash and drugs seized, clearly shows his involvement in large scale drugs supply.

“The court order for the forfeiture of the £29k means the money made through serious and organised crime goes straight back into fighting it, funding our ongoing work to protect communities across our region from its impact.”

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Cash was discovered hidden in the car Picture: ROCU

Jailing Hysa on Friday at Swindon Crown Court, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “You were, whatever the pressure, an important courier, trusted not only with a substantial amount of cash, but also a considerable amount of cocaine and equipped with a hi-tech phone and a car which had a sophisticated hide.”

Hysa was sentenced to four years and six months for the drugs charge, to 16 months for possession of the criminally-acquired cash, six months for the false ID card and four months for the false driving licence. His sentence is to be served concurrently.

“It is a matter for the Secretary of State as to whether you are deported,” Judge Crabtree told Hysa.