TWO Albanian criminals were caught with £18,000 at a Gwent service station after they had travelled from Birmingham to South Wales to pick up drug money.

Durim Mytro, 48, and Geni Dragjoshi, 34, were hired as couriers by gangsters and arrested in Raglan on the A40 in Monmouthshire.

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They were on their way back to the West Midlands after picking up a bundle of cash in either Newport or Cardiff generated from cannabis factories.

The pair were convicted of money laundering on December 12, 2018, following a trial.

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Mytro, of Caversham Road, Birmingham, and Dragjoshi, of Gomer Street, Willenhall, Walsall, were both sent to prison for 12 months.

South Wales Argus:

Durim Mytro

At Cardiff Crown Court, Judge David Wynn Morgan told the two they had been exploited by criminals further up the chain.

He said: “You were hired as couriers for individuals running cannabis factories in South Wales.

“You had been sent to either Newport or Cardiff to pick up £18,360 which was found by the police in a bag in your van.

South Wales Argus:

Geni Dragjoshi

“You were used by those in your community who have no shame in paying you paltry sums of money for carrying out this type of work.

“They are probably sitting in Birmingham reflecting on how clever they are in avoiding prosecution.”

Graeme Logan, representing Mytro, said his client was unemployed at the time of the offence.

He added that the defendant had lived in Birmingham for 16 years and had previously worked as a gardener and a security guard.

Steffan Bisson, for Dragjoshi, told the court his client was an asylum seeker.

He said: “The defendant was separated from his wife and children at the time and was using class A drugs to cope which only escalated the issues.

“This was an act of desperation. He was trying to find some quick money in time for Christmas.”

Alexander Greenwood said Dragjoshi had previous convictions for handling stolen goods and drug driving.