Wallasey chip shop owner jailed for drugs after being caught with photos on mobile phone
A MERSEYSIDE chip shop owner was jailed after being caught with pictures of himself counting thousands of pounds of drug money taken on his own mobile phone.
Eric Kocabey, 34, was arrested and jailed for 12 years after Customs officers at Manchester Airport intercepted an innocent-looking fire which had £600,000 of heroin stuffed in the back.
Liverpool crown court heard the 11kg of drugs were swapped for decoy packages and surveillance officers watched as the fire was delivered to Kocabey’s home in Patterson Street, Birkenhead, last October.
Anne Whyte, prosecuting, said that after the Turkish former asylum seeker, given British citizenship in 2008, came home from work clutching a tool box, police raided the address and found him dismantling the fire to get at the drugs.
The dad-of-one was arrested and several mobile phones seized. On Kocabey’s iPhone were pictures taken in August, before he was under suspicion, of himself with bundles of cash and photos of brown packages, similar to those found in the back of the fire.
At his business, White’s Fish Bar, in Grove Road, Wallasey, police found a 40 plant cannabis factory in a bedroom.
Kocabey told police he had been pressurised into taking delivery of the fire and into letting three men use the flat above the chip shop because he owed money to others in the Turkish community.
Miss Whyte said Kocabey was "the face of the conspiracy" and was "clearly trusted". To think that international drug dealers would send a consignment to a man they barely knew was "absurd", the prosecutor added
The mobile phone photos, Miss Whyte said, showed this was not the first time Kocabey had been involved with drugs.
David Maudsley, defending, said that prior to falling into debt, Kocabey was "a hard working man trying to make a decent living".
But, he added, his "ashamed" client had been "stupid" and "weak" and "could have and should have said no".
Mr Recorder David Turner QC said: "The photos were very stupid things to do but people who commit this type of offence are sometimes very arrogant. You were clearly very happy to be photographed with all that wealth around you."
Sentencing Kocabey to 12 years for conspiring to supply Class A drugs and five years, to run at the same time, for being involved in the production of cannabis, the judge said: "You came here as an asylum seeker 10 years ago. You were naturalised in June 2008 as a British citizen.
"You have repaid the hospitality of this country by becoming involved very substantially in the drugs trade.
"You have made your way, thanks to the generosity of this country, to become the owner of a fish and chip shop.
"Fortunately, the police and Customs through good work managed to intercept a consignment of Class A drugs being imported and which was to be delivered to you.
"You were not a foot soldier. You were a senior officer in this."
Source: - Liverpool Echo