A YOUNG drug dealer who had travelled to Rugby to sell crack cocaine was caught by chance when he was stopped by police investigating an unrelated matter.
And now Jake O’Connor, 19, of Morrison Avenue, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, has been jailed for two years and eight months after he admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply it.
Prosecutor Nicholas Tatlow said that in April last year police officers investigating another matter saw O’Connor on the canal towpath near Reservoir Road, Rugby.
They stopped him, and when he was searched they found a single £10 wrap of crack cocaine on him, so he was arrested.
And during a further search they discovered two more wraps in a small bag he had in his sock, £585 in cash and two mobile phones.
One of the phones had a number of messages on it which made it clear he was involved in dealing, including ‘broadcast messages’ offering drugs for sale to a large group of people.
Mr Tatlow added that O’Connor, who gave ‘no comment’ replies when he was interviewed, had a conviction for possessing heroin and cocaine with intent in 2018, for which he was given a community order by the youth court.
And he is currently serving a 23-month prison sentence imposed at Stafford Crown Court in March this year for offences of burglary.
Samantha Powis, defending, said O’Connor might have been eligible for release from that sentence on an electronic tag in September, if it was not for the drugs offence.
Asking for him to be sentenced ‘from today,’ Miss Powis pointed out: “There was an immediate guilty plea, he is only 19, and at the time he was himself addicted to class A drugs.
“Small-time dealers are recruited by others. He was used by others far more experienced than him to get his own fixes. This was not his enterprise, and he’s a very low-rung player.”
And she added: “He has used his time in custody to reflect. He’s spent his time thinking is this really how he wants to live his life.”
Recorder Jason Macadam questioned: “Why should the sentence start today, and not be a sentence which runs consecutive to the period of imprisonment he’s serving at the moment?”
But, asking him to consider ‘totality,’ Miss Powis said O’Connor had already served the equivalent of ten months of the burglary sentence.
Jailing O’Connor ‘from today,’ and ordering the £585 to be confiscated, Recorder Macadam told him: “You were found by the police to be in possession of class A drugs, a total of three £10 wraps.
“There is no dispute where this falls in the calendar of offending. This is street dealing, and your role was significant. But Miss Powis says very persuasively that you were a small cog in a large organisation.
“You have acquired a regrettable number of convictions, and you have graduated to being a small but effective cog in a drug-dealing organisation.
“If you carry on in this way, the sentences of imprisonment are going to get longer and longer and longer.”