‘Exploited’ Fareham teenager used to peddle drugs by gang dealers received threats at mum’s home
A TEENAGE drug dealer who was being ‘exploited’ by gang members to peddle drugs faced his punishment in court.
Joseph Joyce, 18, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court after he became embroiled in the drugs underworld to pay off a debt he had amassed from smoking cannabis.
But with no previous convictions for drug charges he was spared jail and will instead serve his punishment in the community.
The defendant, who looked startled as he appeared in the dock, admitted two charges of possessing Class B drugs cannabis and ketamine and two charges of supplying the same Class B drugs. He also pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage.
Joyce, of Valerian Avenue, Fareham, was pushing the drugs after being used by ruthless dealers.
The court heard how the defendant had fallen into a £320 debt to the dealers after buying cannabis – resulting in him being forced to sell drugs in exchange to wipe the debt.
He was caught by police in July last year after being ‘off his head’ on prescription drug valium.
Searches on his phone showed messages that indicated drug deals were taking place.
Prosecutor Martyn Booth said: ‘Drugs gangs get young people involved to sell drugs. They are exploited by these gangs who take the money. This is how these gangs operate.
‘They get the young people to sell the drugs and take all the risk and they keep the money.’
The court heard how Joyce had ‘mental health issues’ and was a regular user of cannabis who had since kicked the habit for a month.
Defending, Mark Florida-James, said: ‘Hopefully Mr Joyce can learn from this and stay off the drugs.’
Recorder Sarah Vaughan Jones QC sentenced Joyce to a 12-month community order, including 25 rehabilitation days and told him to pay costs of £100.
She said: ‘Your family were threatened over a debt you had from using drugs. The dealers had been threatening you and turned up at your mum’s house.
‘You were told you could supply drugs on behalf of them to your inner circle of friends to clear your debt.
‘You clearly had a lesser role than the main dealers. You were being engaged by intimidation. No doubt you were exploited because of your vulnerability.’