Teenage drug runner avoids prison after being caught with cannabis and cash
A teenage drug runner was caught with cannabis and more than £600 in cash at Stowmarket railway station by a sniffer dog, a court heard.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Ellis Whitehead, 19, operated as a drug dealer in the Stowmarket area and was stopped at the town's railway station by police officers with a drugs dog on September 19, 2018.
The trained dog indicated towards Whitehead and after being searched by officers, he was found to have 1.3 grams of cannabis, £610 in cash, a mobile phone, and a bank card, Nicola May, prosecuting, told the court.
He was arrested and following analysis, the phone was found to contain text messages such as: "Can you source me two ounces?" and "Have you got any coke?".
Mrs May said Whitehead, of Elizabeth Way, Stowmarket, was "full and frank" in police interview and told officers that he was operating as a runner once a week in the town.
Whitehead told police he was frightened as he owed a drug dealer a lot of money, Mrs May added.
The court heard that Whitehead was also a cannabis user, and was being paid around two to three grams of cannabis for his participation in the enterprise.
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Whitehead previously pleaded guilty to possession of class B drugs, being concerned with the supply of class B drugs and being concerned with the supply of class A drugs at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on August 20 last year.
Oliver Haswell, defending, said Whitehead, now a father-of-two, was in a "forced debt situation".
"He was impressionable, naive, foolish and lacking the depth of thinking which he has now developed.
"This was someone in a forced debt situation, who had little other choice than what he did.
"He is not burying his head in the sand, he is trying to take responsibility for himself and others."
Sentencing Whitehead on Thursday, Judge David Goodin said: "I am prepared to accept that you, very immaturely, were seduced by the world in which you chose to operate.
"Then you found yourself on the wrong end of it."
Judge Goodin sentenced Whitehead to two years in prison, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work as well as a drug rehabilitation requirement.