OVER £1,600 worth of crack cocaine was found in the car of a website designer turned drug dealer when the police stopped him near Rugby.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court rejected the suggestion that Maridiom Shyti’s actions had been ‘stupid’ and out of character.
Recorder Stephen Linehan QC said Shyti had deliberately chosen to begin dealing to make money, and had been doing so for four or five months when he was caught.
Shyti, 22, of Birchfield Road, Northampton, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply it.
Prosecutor Lucinda Wilmott-Lascells said that in February last year the police were alerted to a black Toyota being driven by Shyti in the Rugby area in the early hours of the morning.
When officers stopped him on the A426 heading towards Lutterworth at around 5am, they immediately noticed a strong smell of cannabis, so carried out a search of the car.
Under the cover at the base of the gearstick, they found four packages containing a total of 21.3 grams of crack cocaine, which in individual deals would have a street value of £1,680.
On being arrested, Shyti gave the police a false name and address, but at the police station he then gave his true details.
The police also found £295 in cash on him which, at Miss Wilmott-Lascells’ request, Recorder Stephen Linehan QC ordered to be confiscated under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Shyti’s home was then searched, and officers found two sets of electronic scales, both of which had traces of crack cocaine on them.
Four phones were also seized from him, and when they were analysed, one of them contained text messages ‘which evidenced drug-dealing on a commercial scale.’
When he was interviewed, Shyti confirmed the phone was his, but denied any knowledge of the drugs, claiming he had borrowed the car from a friend.
And of the cash, he said it was what was left of £400 he had withdrawn from the bank, added Miss Wilmott-Lascells.
Nicholas Murphy, defending, said: “He appreciates that what occurred early last year places him in a very difficult position. He has done a very, very stupid thing.”
But Recorder Linehan interjected: “I don’t know why counsel so often choose to describe dealing in class A drugs as stupid – it is criminal, and it was not stupid, it was deliberate.
“He sought to deal in class A drugs because he thought he could make a lot of money and get away with it.”
And of Shyti’s assertion in a letter that he regrets what he did, and that it was completely out of character, the judge commented: “I can’t accept it was completely out of character, because he had been dealing in drugs for four or five months.”
Mr Murphy said Shyti, who lives with his mother and sister, was a freelance web designer who ‘will almost certainly lose the ability to conduct his business,’ in which he has part-time employees ‘back home in Albania.’
Jailing Shyti, Recorder Linehan told him: “In the early hours of the morning you were out in a car in possession of crack cocaine, with which drug you were dealing.
“You were a drug dealer in class A drugs. That is what you had chosen to do because you saw you could make a good deal of money doing that.
“In the letter you write to the court, you say it was out of character. It was not. You had been dealing in drugs at least since the October.
“You knew when you started on this process that the penalty was a sentence of imprisonment. You went into it with your eyes open.”