County lines heroin dealer working for ‘Combat’ network in Portsmouth was ‘paying off brother’s debt’

A HEROIN street dealer has been spared jail after telling a judge he was trying to pay off his 16-year-old brother’s £2,000 debt.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 3:53 pm
The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey in central London.

Londoner Mahamadou Diakite-Ceesay, 20, was caught in Portsmouth with 29 wraps of heroin worth £580 in Fawcett Road, Southsea on February 7.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the defendant, of MacDonald Road, London, had two mobile phones on him - with one linked to the Combat drugs network constantly ringing.

Diakite-Ceesay had taken over the room of an addict to use as a base of operations - a process known as cuckooing.

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When police arrested him he initially claimed the drugs were found ‘behind a picture’ in the room.

But in court Edward Hollingsworth, mitigating, said the defendant had become involved because of his brother’s debt when his family was threatened.

‘He presents as someone, perhaps, as an unusual drug dealer,’ Mr Hollingsworth said.

He added: ‘Were it not for his very real fears he had for his brother and family he would not be in this position.’

Sentencing, judge William Ashworth imposed a 16-month sentence suspended for two years with 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 15 hours’ unpaid work.

He will be locked up at home between 7pm-7am under a two-month curfew.

Judge Ashworth said: ‘Your brother, aged younger than you, 16, owed £2,00 to a drugs organisation and you paid £1,000 of that debt from your own savings but were then coerced by them to work selling drugs for a week in Portsmouth to pay off the other £1,000.

‘The police, conducting a routine patrol, knowing where to go, uncovered you were in a house where you were cuckooing in Portsmouth and you were found in possession of 5.8g of heroin which had been prepared into 29 wraps of the value £580 and a mobile phone which had clear evidence on it.’

He said the phone was clearly used by a county lines drugs gang using the Combat network.

The defendant admitted possession with intent to supply heroin, a class A drug.