Police snared Maldon drug dealer after stopping him for driving offence

Oltion Fishti, 25, was sentenced in Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday after admitting to being concerned in the supply of cocaine, possession of cannabis, and using a handheld phone whilst driving.

Police stopped Fishti in August after they saw him driving past a BP garage in Latchingdon whilst talking on his mobile phone.

After pulling Fishti over, police found the 25-year-old had no third-party insurance for his car, and was in possession of cannabis for recreational use as well as £710 in cash.

When police reviewed Fishti’s phone, they found WhatsApp messages which showed the 25-year-old was engaging in drug dealing, with the volume and value of the drugs Fishti was supplying being commensurate with cocaine.

Samantha Lowther, prosecuting, said: “[The text messages] show that post codes were sent to the defendant’s phone indicating the locations to which he should attend.

“The defendant would attend these locations, supply drugs, and would then report back to the sender of the messages telling them the amount of drugs and their value.

Charles Durrant, for Fishti, argued the 25-year-old had turned to drug dealing to pay back people traffickers.

He said: “Young people often risk life and limb to come across in small boats illegally, as is the case here.

“With money outstanding as a result of their trafficking, these people are soon put to work in a legitimate capacity.

“When that dries up, there are bouts of homelessness, and pressure is applied to these young people to repay the money they owe to their traffickers.”

Judge Sawyer, however, said the seriousness of the offence meant there was no other option than to than to sentence Fishti to a prison term.

He said: “You came illegally to the UK on a boat, and in this country you found yourself unemployed and homeless.

“I have considered with care whether I can suspend the sentence, but given the circumstances and the seriousness of the offending, I take the view this must be an immediate custodial sentence.”

Judge Sawyer sentenced Fishti to one year and eight months in prison and, as Fishti is an illegal immigrant who has been sentenced to a jail term more than a year long, a process will begin leading to Fishti’s eventual deportation.