#parents | #teensvaping | Judge jails Blackburn teen drug dealer to send warning to ganglords

A TEENAGE drug dealer who hid crack cocaine and heroin in an empty Lynx deodorant can has been jailed after a judge decided to send a strong message to his ‘employers’.

Preston Crown Court heard how 18-year-old Asif Shezad, who has two previous convictions for possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply, was seen by police stumbling out of a taxi in Saunders Road, Blackburn at 9.45am on December 12.

Prosecuting, Peter Barr said officers circled the area and saw Shezad find something on the floor, before picking it up and putting it in his mouth.

The court heard that Shezad was detained, but as he was on the floor he attempted to grab an item containing white powder and one containing a brown substance, which had fallen out of his mouth.

They turned out to be heroin and crack cocaine.

Shezad was arrested and when his home in Saunders Road was searched police found a mobile phone containing messaged linked to drug-dealing under his pillow and weighing scales with traces of crack cocaine and heroin.

Mr Barr said it was in a garden shed that officers found the Lynx can, which contained 36 wraps of heroin, with a street value of £370, and 48 wraps of crack cocaine, with a street value of £590.

Shezad, who has convictions for possessing crack cocaine and heroin dating back to July and September 2018, pleaded guilty to the same charge again. On each of the previous occasions he was given youth referral orders because he was under 18.

Defending, Saleema Mahmood said her client had been dealing to pay off a drug debt and he had been targeted because of his vulnerabilities.

She said Shezad had been the head of the household since he was 16 and as well as having to provide financially, he also had to look after his sick mother and siblings.

Ms Mahmood said: “If you send him to prison there will be a queue of people waiting to further exploit this shy, timid young man.”

Jailing Shezad for 27 months, Judge Andrew Jeffries QC said the courts needed to counteract criminal gangs recruiting vulnerable young men to sell drugs by telling them they would only get a slap on the wrist if they were caught.

Judge Jeffries said: “The conclusion I have reached, all be it with a heavy heart, is that it will would not be appropriate for a prison sentence to be suspended.

“The public need to realise and criminal gangs need to realise that where vulnerable young men are targeted, they will not be met with leniency.

“That message needs to get out.”

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