A COUPLE were caught red-handed after driving from Newport to Liverpool and trying to smuggle in 1kg of cocaine destined for the streets of Gwent.

Drug couriers Corey Casagrande, 34, and Jemma Connor, 27, were boxed in by police cars on the A449 in Abergavenny on their return from Merseyside.

Prosecutor Peter Donnison said the pair’s cargo of cocaine had a wholesale value of around £48,000.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how the drugs being shipped into South Wales had a potential street value significantly more than that.


South Wales Argus:

Corey Casagrande

Mr Donnison said the police were tipped off the duo were making their way back from Liverpool and they were intercepted on December 9.

Casagrande was driving a blue Ford Escort with Connor as his front seat passenger.

They were carrying a 1kg block of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of between £42,000 to £48,000.

The defendants, both of Partridge Way, Duffryn, Newport, admitted possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

Connor had never been in trouble with the police before.

Casagrande has previous convictions for attempted robbery and a commercial burglary.

Ieuan Bennett, representing Connor, said: “The defendant was put under pressure by a family member who I am not going to name in open court.

“She was persuaded against her better judgement to do this.

“He has since packed his bags and disappeared.”

Mr Bennett added: “She is terrified and will never do anything like this again.

“She is shaking like a leaf and is almost hyperventilating.”

The court was told how Connor had brought up two younger siblings when her mother “deserted” the family when she was aged 15.

Timothy Evans, for father-of-three Casagrande, said his client had acted stupidly.

Judge Daniel Williams told the couple: “You knew what you were doing.

“You did it for money and because you thought you could get away with it.

“You were being remarkably foolish, not naive.”

Casagrande was jailed for two years and eight months.

Connor, who wept throughout the proceedings, was sent to prison for two years, suspended for two years.

She must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £400 prosecution costs and a £156 victim surcharge.

Outside the court, DC Karl Smith, the officer in the case said: “Drugs have no place in our society.

"They can often ruin lives and can have a huge detrimental impact on our communities.

“Casagrande took the decision to involve himself in drug dealing and supply. He is now facing the consequence of his actions.

“Hopefully this substantial sentence will deter others who are considering getting themselves involved in the supply of drugs.

“Gwent Police is committed to tackling this form of illegal activity in our communities.

"We will continue to bring offenders who are caught in the drug supply chain in our communities to justice.

“If you’re concerned about drug supply in your area, report it to us.”