Drug dealer who posed as an Uber driver sold cocaine from his fake taxi, court told

A drug dealer was caught pushing class A drugs while posing as an Uber driver when police caught him loitering too long in a supermarket car park, a court heard.

Azar Iqbal Rehman, 51, was picked up by police in an Asda car park in Harrogate, posing as a driver for the international cab-hailing app.

When police officers approached the vehicle to grab the car keys, the fake taxi driver tried to drive off, prosecutor John Hobley told York Crown Court.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They searched the vehicle and found 72 cocaine bags and 20 MDMA packets as well as £710 cash.

Azar Iqbal Rehman, 51, was picked up by police in an Asda car park in Harrogate

Rehman, a married father-of-five who worked as a lorry driver, told officers there were “more drugs at his home”, the court heard.

Police searched his house and found a further 126 cocaine packets hidden in a lock box inside his bedroom and more cash.

Mr Hobley said the total amount of drugs seized was 85g of cocaine and over 6g of MDMA, an Ecstasy-type drug. The estimated street value was just over £17,000.

Rehman, of Bradford, was charged with two counts of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and one count of possessing criminal property.

Police searched the vehicle and found 72 cocaine bags and 20 MDMA packets as well as £710 cash

Read More

Read More
Yorkshire farmer faces costly clean-up after finding entire cannabis farm dumped...

He admitted the offences and appeared for sentence on November 9, where he was jailed for two years.

Rehman was caught red-handed in December 2019 when two cops in an unmarked saw the Uber ‘cab’ parked some distance from the entrance to the supermarket.

Their suspicions were heightened when it didn’t move for over 20 minutes.

When they approached the vehicle, which was “liveried as an Uber taxi”, Rehman “appeared nervous”, the court heard.

He was removed from the vehicle after his “half-hearted” attempt at escape, Mr Hobley said.

Along with the drugs and cash, officers found a mobile phone inside the vehicle which had a “stream of text messages containing addresses”.

They also found a “dealer debt list” and Rehman told police he had been dealing for about four months under direction from others.

He claimed he had been paid £150 a week by his drug bosses, but a financial investigation found that £6,000 had been deposited into his bank account during the four months he had been dealing.

George Hazel-Owram, mitigating, said Rehman had never been in trouble before and started dealing after becoming addicted to cocaine and running up a debt to his own suppliers.

However, he conceded that although there was a “degree of pressure” from those higher up the chain, it “fell far short of duress”.

Rehman had been “directed to drive to certain addresses to deliver drugs”, added the barrister.

He said Rehman had worked “throughout his adult life”, lately as a HGV driver but “predominantly” as a bus driver.

Judge Simon Hickey said Rehman had clearly made a “substantial amount of cash” from his drug enterprise.

He said the fact Rehman was making drug deliveries in an Uber ‘taxi’ was an aggravating factor as he was “operating under the guise of a taxi to deal drugs on the street”.

He said the police investigation debunked Rehman’s claim that he was only dealing to pay off a drug debt.

He told Rehman: “You must understand that anybody who deals in Class A drugs is dealing in a pernicious, revolting drug because it causes death (and) misery.”

He said although it was Rehman’s “first foray” into drug-dealing and he had family commitments, it could only be an immediate jail sentence.

Rehman was jailed for two years and eight months. He will serve half of that sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Sergeant Marcus Dawson said: “The judge in court commented on Rehman’s calculated behaviour in using a taxi as a guise for his dealing and the serious, damaging impact drugs have on our local communities.

“Rehman’s arrest and successful prosecution is a great example of the vital role proactive policing plays in cracking down on drug dealing activity.

“The instincts of the two officers who sensed something was not right about his presence in that car park have resulted in another drug dealer being taken off the streets."