A LLANDEINIOL drug dealer has been jailed after being caught at an Aberystwyth retail park with “the tools of the trade”.
James Hopson, of Sbeit Uchaf, appeared for sentencing at Swansea Crown Court last month.
The 20-year-old had pleading guilty to possession of 18.44 grams of cocaine with intent to supply and to being concerned in the supply of cocaine at an earlier hearing.
The court heard that on 6 January last year officers stopped a van in the car park of Parc y Llyn retail park in Aberystwyth.
Three people were found in the vehicle, with 20-year-old Hopson being the driver.
The court heard that officers saw ‘wraps’ of cocaine in the van next to the dials on the dashboard.
On top of the dashboard was a set of scales with traces of powder on them.
Hopson was arrested by the officers and while being taken out of the van dropped a plastic bag which contained more cocaine along with cutting and bulking agents, including caffeine.
Hopson’s phone was examined by police following his arrest, and officers found messages relating to dealing which had been sent and received over the previous two months.
They also found notes listing amounts supplied and monies owed.
The court heard that messages showed Hopson had been using a “runner” to help him distribute deals, and was also charging some customers a £20 delivery charge.
In other messages, Hopson told people not to pay money into his bank account but to instead transfer the cash into an account in the name of JD Lewis.
The court heard that police had been unable to determine whether that was an account which belonged to a real person, or whether it had been set up by the defendant as part of the drug dealing operation.
The court heard that Hopson was making “substantial amounts of money” from his drug dealing activities.
In mitigation, the court heard that Hopson worked for the family tarmacadam business and was now drug and alcohol free.
The court heard that Hopson had stayed out of trouble since his arrest, and had “turned his life around.”
He was sentenced to 32 months in prison.
Hopson will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
The court heard no further action was taken against the two people found in the van along with Hopson.
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