Portsmouth 'county lines' drug dealer jailed despite 'rehabilitating' himself into Covid-19 tester
A ‘REHABILITATED’ drug dealer who was caught with crack cocaine and heroin has been jailed for more than two years in a ‘classic county lines’ case.
Sarman Ahmed, 24, was followed by police in an unmarked car while he was driving in Southsea.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard he was seen going out of sight with a ‘dishevelled’ looking man.
When officers stopped Ahmed they found one wrap, a piece of crack and heroin, a ringing Nokia phone and £235 split between his car and on his person.
He variously said the phone wasn’t and was his, but tried to answer it when it started ringing.
Prosecutor Nicholas Hall said analysis uncovered 97 people had been sent a ‘now delivering’ message offering drugs for sale.
Ahmed at first denied being involved with class A drugs but later admitted the charges, saying he was driving someone called ‘Sammy’ around for a few days.
Mr Hall said the prosecution was ‘sceptical’ about these claims but did not challenge them.
‘It’s a classic county lines sort of a case,’ Mr Hall said.
County lines sees addicts sent text messages by a dealer operating a phone line for big city gangs, with runners recruited in or trafficked to smaller areas.
Jailing Ahmed for 30 months, Recorder David Chidgey said: ‘Most concerningly you were in possession of a telephone which had a large number of texts advertising drugs.
‘This is the way that so-called county lines drug dealing is unfortunately now organised and county lines type drug dealing is a menace to society and it means that drug dealing is organised on a nationwide scale.’
He added: ‘This combination of offences is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.’
Ahmed, of Douglas Road, London, admitted three charges of being concerned in class A drugs, two of possession of class A with intent to supply, and one of class B in relation to cannabis.
Sean Smith, mitigating, said Ahmed had turned his hand to testing people for Covid-19 working for Mitie in the pandemic.
The former Royal Mail worker turned to dealing drugs when he lost his job at the postal service, the court heard.
Mr Smith said Ahmed had ‘rehabilitated’ himself in the period since his arrest in June 2019.