Man jailed for dealing in cocaine

Swindon Advertiser: Efraim Lopes Efraim Lopes

A MAN who was caught dealing hard drugs on a town centre street has been jailed for a year and eight months.

Efraim Lopes was seen acting suspiciously by a drugs squad officer who didn’t realise he was involved in dealing.

Moments later a colleague, who was aware of his activities, asked the officer to take part in searching the 47-year-old and they found he had heroin and crack cocaine.

Kerry Barker, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how PC Matt Barnett was in an unmarked car in Fleming Way at lunchtime on February 21.

As he approached the bus station he looked along the path leading to Gambia Street, which is a notorious haunt for drug dealing, and saw three known users.

He also saw Lopes walking around the area but did not stop and detain him as he was not aware he was involved in drugs.

However, five minutes later a colleague, who knew about his activities, asked the officer if he would assist him in carrying out a search.

When they approached Lopes he immediately told them not only that he had drugs in his pocket but also there was more at home.

He told them he had been selling drugs for a local dealer and said he had supplied the three men PC Barnett had seen minutes before.

He had seven £10 wraps of heroin and four of crack cocaine, which would have retailed at between £10 and £20, as well as £125 in cash.

At his home he showed police a further two wraps of heroin and eight more of crack cocaine, making the total value of drugs as much as £330.

Lopes, of Broad Street, admitted two counts of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Andrew Hobson, defending, said his client was helpful towards the police on the street and co-operated when he was arrested, telling them what he had been doing.

He said his client was in full time employment and had managed to stop using heroin after a 25-year addiction.

But when his mother died three years ago he slipped back into drug use and had been dealing for four weeks to fund his own habit.

He said: “He realises it was the wrong thing to do. The cash in his pocket was not for him, it was going to go to his dealer. He was to be given a couple of wraps of heroin for his own use.

“He works and has his own accommodation and will lose both if he is sent to custody.”

Urging the court to impose a suspended sentence, he said his client had engaged with drug services and was on replacement medication.

Passing sentence, Judge Douglas Field said: “In February you were on the streets of Swindon selling these extremely dangerous drugs.

“You were a runner for a dealer further up the chain. This offending is too serious for me to give you a suspended sentence.”

He jailed him for 20 months, ordered he forfeit the drugs and cash and told him to pay a £100 victim surcharge.

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