Cannabis dealer caught in South Ockendon

Basildon Magistrates Court

A CANNABIS dealer caught with more than £9,000 in cash has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

Basildon Crown Court heard how officers were patrolling in Faymore Gardens, South Ockendon on Tuesday 29 October this year when they became suspicious of a Ford Fiesta.

The car was stopped and officers could smell a strong aroma of the Class B drug cannabis. They searched the driver, 20-year-old Joseph Ituah and the vehicle and found more than £9,000 in the driver’s side footwell.

Inside the boot of the vehicle officers also found a large bag containing hydroponic lamps and fans commonly used to grow the Class B drug.

Officers also seized mobile phones containing evidence of Ituah’s involvement in the supply of cannabis. A later search of his home in Hainault Road, Romford found the remnants of cannabis all over one of the rooms.

Ituah was arrested and charged with being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs and acquiring criminal property.

He pleaded guilty to the charges at Basildon Crown Court and was jailed for eight months.

A 17-year-old boy from Romford, also arrested at the time and who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to possessing a Class A drug. He was made the subject of a youth rehabilitation order and ordered to take part in a substance misuse programme.

Following the sentencing investigating officer PC Emma Ridings of the West Operation Raptor team said: “It was clear, both from the money found in Ituah’s vehicle and evidence found on his phone, that he was heavily involved in the supply of the Class B drug cannabis.

“The sale and supply of all drugs involves violence, exploitation and criminality which is why every day Operation Raptor are out on the streets of Essex targeting, arresting and locking up those involve in these types of offences.

“But we can’t do this alone and we need you, our communities, to tell us who is dealing what and where so we can continue to arrest those intent on selling harmful drugs on our streets.”

Essex Police set up Operation Raptor teams in the North, South and West of the county to tackle drug and gang-related crime.

If you have information about drug or gang-related crime in your community contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Ituah was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Monday 2 December.

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