A man dealt drugs when cash-in-hand work at car washes and building sites dried up because of the coronavirus pandemic, a court heard.
Kosovan Bislim Zejnullahi, 50, was stopped by Hertfordshire Police officers who were suspicious when they spotted him driving a Vauxhall around Kings Langley.
Prosecutor David Baird told St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday, May 27, said: “The police noticed the vehicle was stopping frequently and was meeting with pedestrians.
“It was just before 5pm on 21st February this year when they decided to stop the car. The defendant was the driver and there was nobody else in the car. It was searched and a black sock containing 12 wraps of crack cocaine was found in the driver’s side door.”
£1200 cash was also seized. A mobile phone was analysed. It was found to contain messages with post codes for addresses in Luton and Kings Langley for that day.
He answered no comment when questioned by the police.
Mr Baird said Zejnullahi was a typical street dealer, who was acting under direction by delivering drugs and taking the money.
Zejnullahi, of no fixed address, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and acquiring criminal property. He had no previous convictions.
Defending, Anne Faul said Zejnullahi had left Kosovo for Gemany when he was 21 to avoid being conscripted into the Serbian army. He returned to Kosovo in 2004 and came to the UK illegally in 2015 for work.
She said: “He was working in cars washes and construction industry for cash in hand.
He was living with friends.
“It all went wrong with COVID-19. He couldn’t get work. It dried up and he was forced to sleep in his car, which he had bought for £300.”
Ms Faul said the day before he was arrested Zejnullahi had been given the details of a man who would give him work.
She said this was the person who got him to deliver the drugs. “He was told he would be delivering packages and then realised what the work involved. He was desperate for money and decided to go along and deliver the packages. It was out of desperation and out of character,” she said.
But Judge Michael Kay QC said: “I do not accept that explanation. A drug dealer would not entrust someone in that situation with £1000 worth of drugs.”
Sentencing him to 18 months in prison, the judge said: “Precisely what occurred no doubt you know, but have not told us.”