Daniel Dedolli paid £8,000 to travel to the UK illegally from Albania and was coerced into drug dealing to pay off the debt, Hove Crown Court heard today.
Appearing in the dock this morning, Dedolli pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.
Prosecutor Patrick Maggs said: “A little before six o’clock in the evening on August 4, 2017, officers had their attention drawn towards a vehicle.”
Two men in the vehicle were searched, the court heard, one of them being 23-year-old Dedolli.
Mr Maggs continued: “A search of him revealed a relatively small quantity of drugs upon his person.
“Asked where he was from he indicated Albania.
“Asked if he was here unlawfully he responded ‘yes’.”
Dedolli was found in possession of 46 MDMA tablets and just over 5g of cocaine, hidden in a cigarette packet, the court heard.
The total street value of the drugs is thought to be between £530 and £800.
Mr Maggs said Dedolli played a ‘significant role, selling directly to users on the street’, but acknowledged he was not ‘at the top of this chain’.
Defence counsel Brian Shaw said: “Mr Dedolli, in common sadly with so many other men from Albania, has come over here illegally.
“Originally he was working in London then pressure was put on him to repay the money that he had spent on coming over to the UK - around £8000.
“He was told that the best way to repay quickly was to help deal drugs.
“There is some element of coercion and exploitation to a limited degree.”
Sentencing Dedolli, judge Jeremy Gold QC told him that dealing Class A drugs is a ‘very serious matter’.
He sentenced him to 33 months in prison on each of the two charges, to be served concurrently.
Judge Gold told the defendant: “Upon your release you are likely to be deported back to Albania.”