Gosport drug dealer jailed after police at domestic abuse incident ‘smelled cannabis’ 

A MAN has been jailed for supplying cocaine in a case described as 'serious' offending by the judge.

Merlin Archer was sentenced to 42 months in custody after admitting supplying the class A drug cocaine and class B drug cannabis, possession of cocaine and herbal cannabis, offering to supply cocaine and cannabis and possession of cocaine with an intent to supply.

Merlin Archer, 22, from Maple Close in Lee-on-the-Solent

Merlin Archer, 22, from Maple Close in Lee-on-the-Solent

He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and exceeding the speed limit.

The court heard the 22-year-old's offending happened over the course of 10 months in Gosport.

Prosecutor Robin Sellers told Portsmouth Crown Court that Archer was seen in a Ford Mondeo parked outside a pub on September 23 last year. 

He said officers thought a drug deal was taking place and as they approached the car, the defendant bolted. Searching the car, police found £190 and a mobile phone.

Mr Sellers said: ‘The phone contained text messages and other information to suggest the defendant was involved in offering to supply cocaine and cannabis.

'In the meantime, in December police attended a call in relation to domestic abuse at the house of the defendant. When officers were inside there was a strong smell of cannabis - it was more than personal use.'

Mr Sellers said 1.8g of cocaine and five wraps of 0.4g of cannabis were found along with another phone with further evidence of drug dealing.

The court heard Archer, of Maple Close, Lee-on-the-Solent, was arrested at a Gosport supermarket and searched. 

Mr Sellers added: 'Police found 0.75g of cannabis, four wraps of 0.6g of cocaine and a mobile phone.’

When interviewed Archer said the drugs found in his possession were personal use and he denied knowledge of the phone in the car. He also said the drugs at his house were from friends after hosted a party. 

The court heard Archer was involved in driving offences on July 6 this year.

He was seen leaving Twyford Drive, in Lee-on-the-Solent, and officers indicated for the vehicle to stop.

But it fled and was seen making a sharp left turn at speed and driving on the wrong side of the road. It then crashed and the defendant left the car but was later apprehended.

Defending Archer, Simon Moger, said he was a young man of previous good character and had taken steps to address his drug use.

He added: ‘He has attempted to turn his life around.’

Recorder Karim Ezzat sentenced Archer to 36 months in prison for the drug offences and six months in prison for the driving offences to run consecutively. 

He said: ‘You lost your good character when you entered guilty pleas. They are serious offences.

‘You were caught three times and rather than the first two times being a wake up call to make some better decisions, you carried on offending.’

Investigating officer PC Mark Barber said: ‘This sentence sends a clear message that we will investigate you and prosecute you if you are involved in the supply of drugs.

‘Merlin Archer was seen to be dealing drugs and further enquiries revealed the extent of his activities.

‘The sentence reflects other matters where Archer was also arrested including a dangerous driving incident where he was driving under the influence of drugs.’