A 23-year-old Gloucester man who started selling crack cocaine and heroin to pay off his gambling debts has been jailed for 31 months.
Gloucester Crown Court heard on Tuesday (October 11) that Remell Brown, of Beaufort Road, Gloucester, initially used loan sharks to pay his debt – but was charged 1,000 per cent interest and had worse difficulties.
He then started dealing drugs to get out of trouble and was so successful that by the time of his arrest three months later he had bought £15,000 worth of designer clothes.
Prosecutor Michael Hall said Brown was arrested on July 13 this year and was in possession of two cellphones.
The prosecutor said: “These two devices contained data on the operation of the drug lines over a period of three months. Further examination revealed that the location of the devices matched that of his vehicle.”
“In addition, CCTV was obtained that showed Brown charging his phones at convenience stores.
“An in-depth analysis of the telephone data revealed that many mass advertisements for Class A drugs had been sent over the previous three months and in turn a number of calls were received on the line, commanding actually drugs.
“It appears that this drug line was operated by Brown, who ran ‘runners’ to distribute the drugs and collect money from customers.
“A search of Brown’s home address revealed a range of drug paraphernalia, including a bulking agent for use with cocaine and a Rambo-style knife, but no actual drugs.
“Police believe Brown benefited financially from the operation because they found a range of designer clothes, worth around £15,000, as well as a bank paying slips worth £15,000. £2,200.
“A drug specialist did an analysis of the operation and he dismissed the suggestion that Brown was working for others above him.
“The expert believes it was a small operation with others working under him.
“Clearly Brown had a clear financial operation at the top of this small business. The only difference between that and a county drug operation is the scale of it.”
The court heard that Brown ran up a large debt due to his gambling addiction. He was a trained carer and had worked in the industry for four years while having the responsibility of looking after his mother and grand- dad.
Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said Brown was extremely sorry.
“He wrote a letter to the court stating that the last two months of his life were the worst because his pre-trial detention took him away from his responsibilities to his mother and grandfather, who sadly passed away during this time. and he was unable to attend his funeral.
“Brown is better than that. He got lost because of his own gambling habit. He took loans with an APR of over 1,000%. Loan sharks like this prey on vulnerable people, like Brown.”
Judge Ian Lawrie KC said, “I have no problem with Brown being in a deep money pit, but he got there on his own.”
Mr Jenkins added: “Brown admits he thought that by selling drugs he could get out of this financial situation, after being introduced to it by others.
“Unfortunately, it was not the right decision to make. He is not a drug addict himself, but he chose to use this industry to help him pay off his own gambling debt. It was a period relatively short offense.”
Brown pleaded guilty to being involved in the supply of Class A drugs, crack cocaine and diamorphine, between April 11 and July 13, 2022.
Sentencing Brown to a prison term of two years and seven months, Judge Lawrie said: ‘No mother deserves to have the added stress of her son acting as a caregiver being sent to prison, but I don’t. I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence.
“I completely understand how you got involved in the drug trade. You started gambling and got into deep debt, you borrowed from loan sharks and when you got into a corner, you made the decision to do drug trafficking.
“This whole episode is of your own making. I hope you understand that the drug trade perpetuates the misery suffered by others subjected to this way of life. You don’t have this explanation for getting involved because you don’t use drug.
“You chose to enter this lifestyle for financial gain. You had a good job that gave you the opportunity to show your skills and qualities in this sector, but this additional profession is the complete opposite of that. .
“It shows that you can work hard and have skill. You are smart and generally a good person. However, you will have to pay a heavy price for your gratuitous judgment with substantial punishment because you had an operational role and you had runners. as part of a drug operation.”
Brown was warned he would face a proceeds of crime hearing later in the year.
The judge ordered the confiscation and destruction of all drug paraphernalia and mobile phones and the payment of a victim surcharge of £190.