Heroin pair jailed after £6.5m drugs haul found hidden in laundry and bin bags
Two men have been jailed for a total of 19 years after heroin worth £6.5m was found in a laundry bag and bin liner.
Billal Baig, 32, from Isleworth in Middlesex, was sentenced to 11 years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court for involvement in the supply of drugs.
Joseph Salmon, 37 and of no fixed address, got eight years for possessing heroin with intent to supply.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was among the force's "single biggest recoveries of drugs".
A spokesman said the heroin was found in 22 parcels in a "large laundry-style bag and bin bag" after police stopped a private taxi in Mere in Cheshire on 2 May.
'Hole in the drugs supply'
The parcels contained "a high-purity heroin of 60% or above", police added.
Salmon was arrested with the taxi driver, who was later released without charge.
The driver told police his friend, later identified as Baig, had asked him to take a £400 fare from Abbey Road Studios in London to Manchester and back.
Police then found messages between Baig and the driver who complained the payment was insufficient.
He was told by Baig that an extra payment from the "main man" would be sorted, suggesting the pick-up was orchestrated by another person.
After police efforts to identify and locate Baig, he was arrested some weeks later with help from the Metropolitan Police.
The 32-year-old told officers he asked the driver to take Salmon on behalf of another person, whose identity he did not know.
Det Insp Lee Griffin from GMP said the outcome of the court case was a "massive achievement".
"In one fell swoop we put a huge hole in the drugs supply market and today's sentence reflects great teamwork from specialist units across the force," he added.
He said Baig and Salmon failed to provide an explanation for their actions but police were still trying to understand who else might have been involved in London or Manchester.
"Put very simply, due to the high purity of the heroin and potential for further adulteration, we have halted hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individual street deals from taking place," he said.