Two people who were heavily in debt, one to a loan shark and one to a cocaine supplier, were forced to take part in ‘county lines’ drug-dealing in Stratford to pay back what they owed.
Appearing at Warwick Crown Court, Davis (28) of Selcroft Avenue, Harborne, Birmingham, was jailed for two years, and Miah (31) of Fernley Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, for two years and three months.
Prosecutor Rupert Jones said that in April last year a car being driven by Miah, with Davis in the front passenger seat, was stopped by the police in Oakleigh Road, Stratford.
When she was told she was going to be searched, Davis volunteered that she has crack and heroin in her bag.
The officers found 49 wraps of cocaine and 24 of heroin worth a total of £730 – and a further wrap of each drug was later found tucked into her waistband.
Both defendants admitted supplying drugs when they were interviewed, although when they first appeared in court Miah initially indicated he would deny the charges.
Mr Jones pointed out that Miah had entered his pleas on the basis that he had fallen into debt and had borrowed £5,000 from a loan shark who had then threatened him and put him under pressure to commit the offences when he could not repay the loan.
Davis said her partner had left her in September 2017 when she was heavily pregnant with their second child, and her grandmother, to whom she was very close, had a terminal illness.
As a result, she suffered from depression which led her to self-medicate with cocaine, and she ran up a drug debt and was subjected to threats to get her to sell drugs to pay it off.
She said she had been collected by Miah on three or four occasions from Hall Green station and driven to Stratford to sell drugs over a three-week period prior to their arrest.
Mr Jones added that Davis was of previous good character, while Miah had a caution for possessing drugs and a conviction in 2008 for stealing from his employer.
Simon Ward, for Miah, who works as a bus driver on an agency basis, said: “He is not a drug dealer. He got forced into this for reasons described to the police and in his basis of plea.
“He was working in a restaurant which was failing, and he was told over and over ‘we will pay you next week,’ and he was not paid at all – and he borrowed from a loan shark.
“He got involved [in this] through coercion and intimidation. He spoke in the pre-sentence report of how relieved he was on those days the phone didn’t ring and he was not required to go out dealing in drugs.”
Mr Ward pointed out that, given the fact that the drugs were found on Davis and in her bag, Miah could have claimed he had nothing to do with them, but he gave a full account to the police.
Richard Franck, for Davis, said: “Things went completely out of control for her in March, and she started taking cocaine, and in a matter of weeks she incurred a debt she couldn’t repay.
“She was made subject to threats, not just to her, but to her family; and there is a text on her phone which is a direct threat to her on the day of this offence. She felt she had no choice but to do what was asked of her.
“As soon as the police stop the car, she admits she has the drugs and explains how she gets them and how she gets to Stratford.
“In the last six months things have taken a turn for the better, and she has referred herself to a drug and alcohol support team, and is now completely clear of drugs.”
Asking for her to be given a suspended sentence, Mr Franck said her two children had been taken from her, but she has been told that, subject to the sentence, she could have them back.
But jailing them, Judge Anthony Potter said: “A year ago you Mohammed Miah, not for the first time, picked up Tania Davis at Hall Green station and, as is becoming familiar to the courts, drove her with the drugs she’d been given to Stratford-upon-Avon.
“You went not to the centre, where there’s CCTV, but just on the outskirts of the centre and parked up with a view to dealing drugs.
“You Miss Davis know just how addictive drugs are. You knew you were peddling not a solution to people’s problems, but just more misery.”