A SHOPKEEPER and cocaine dealer who tried to convince police he was a chocolate salesman has been jailed for 40 months.
Labib Arshid (37), of Hill Street, Brierfield, had on him enough mixing agent for a £265,000 drugs stash when he was spotted by police in his Audi parked up in Nelson.
The defendant also had two large chocolate bars and claimed he was giving the occupants of another car, which had pulled up alongside him, some samples.
He was searched and officers found he had 49.4g of cocaine, worth £2,000 on the streets and £700 cash on him, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The hearing was told when Arshid’s home was searched, police discovered 6.6kg of benzocaine – a common cutting agent used to make larger quantities of drugs.
Arshid, described as having been “hopelessly addicted” to cocaine himself and who has had to have surgery on his nose because of it, had earlier admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply. He was jailed by Judge Ian Leeming, who told the defendant cocaine use ruined lives.
Mr Nigel Booth (prosecuting) said police in Nelson saw a Peugeot pull up alongside an Audi on February 19th last year. An occupant of the Peugeot got out and went to speak to the defendant. Officers went to talk to those in the cars.
Arshid had two large bars of chocolate and claimed he was a salesman with samples. He had three snap seal bags, containing white powder, in his hand. In his trouser pocket was cash. Arshid told officers it was about £700. The bags contained 49.4g of cocaine, of 5% concentration, and the drugs were worth £1,960 on the streets.
Mr Booth said, in Arshid’s vehicle, officers found paper with names and amounts next to them. Within one mobile phone recovered from the car were two lists. The phone was analysed and had drug supply-related text messages on it.
The prosecutor said the amount of benzocaine found at the defendant’s home was out of proportion to the drugs in his possession. There was no evidence he had enough cocaine to combine with the “huge” quantity of the cutting agent.
Mr Booth added Arshid had 34 previous offences on his record, going back to 1992. He had served 50 months behind bars for conspiracy to defraud and had convictions for dishonesty, but not drug dealing.
Mr Robert Elias (defending) said he was a street dealer in small amounts of drugs. He would have been holding the benzocaine for someone as a favour.
The defendant, the father of a young son, had taken steps to address his addiction, had been to counselling and was now drug-free. He had put on weight, come to his senses and, following his marriage breakdown, lived with his mother and infirm grandmother.
Mr Elias told the court Arshid, who ran an off-licence with his brother, had turned to dealing as his cocaine habit had been a drain on his finances. The barrister added: “He would consume all he could get his hands on. He put as much drugs as he could into his nostrils. He was hopelessly addicted.”