A PAIR of street dealers who were caught with more than £5,000 of drug money after a police-stop on the M3 at Basingstoke have been jailed for eight years.

Milkis Araya and Said Bihe were caught in the passenger seats of a black Vauxhall Insignia travelling northbound in the early hours of November 11, 2017.

Officers pulled the car over which smelt like cannabis and carried out a search finding wads of cash stashed in the seats, in Bihe’s shoe and from Araya.

The dealers were travelling to London from Bournemouth where they had been involved in a “commercial operation” selling drugs to users in the city.

Bihe was found with a phone which was investigated, and texts were discovered alerting users that the dealers were in the area.

A contacts list with users’ names and contact numbers was taken from Araya at the scene, but he lied to police at the scene about knowing what it was.

Both were sentenced at Winchester Crown Court today (Friday) Araya, of Marchbank Road, Fulham, was found guilty following a three-day trial of being concerned in the supply of Class A cocaine and being concerned in the supply of Class A heroin. He was also convicted of being in possession of criminal property.

The 22-year-old previously admitted to possession of cannabis.

And Bihe, 24, Manchester Drive, Notting Hill, London, had earlier pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A cocaine and being concerned in the supply of Class A heroin. He also admitted two charges of being in possession of criminal property.

Barry McElduff, prosecuting, said: “This street dealing. It is street dealing on a significant scale. Both of these defendants played a significant role within that.

“The amount of money recovered speaks to the scale of this street dealing enterprise.”

But defending Araya, Tom Copeland said “This young man was in a sense carrying out a limited role in the sense he has been charged with transportation.

“He is at the lowest part of the chain before the drugs met the customers. He is the one plainly at risk.”

Mr Copeland added that Araya’s father died when he was a young and he joined his mother from Eritrea but was taken into care as a teenager which led him to having a difficult background.

Representing Bihe, Daniel Sawyer said he was an “intelligent young man” but “fell in with the wrong people. He left education and in 2013 he ended up becoming involved in the drug supply”.

The court heard that Bihe has previous convictions for drug supply and became a user when he was in prison to “cope with the situation”.

And when he came out he was stuck drug dealing but tried to get out and was stabbed in the chest.

Mr Sawyer added: “This is one long stream of someone who was coheresed into it in the first place and is not able to get out.”

And Recorder Alexia Power was told that Bihe is back in contact with his family and his now clean from drugs.

In sentencing, Recorder Power jailed Araya and Bihe for four years each.

After sentencing the officer in the case DC Clare Hughes said: “This was an unusual case as there were no Class A drugs found within the vehicle but the evidence of Class A dealing was strong enough for the trial jury to come to the conclusion they did. 

“This has been a lengthy investigation and the result should send a powerful message that Hampshire Constabulary will tirelessly pursue criminals involved in illegal drug dealing and bring them to justice.”