A BARRISTER representing a West Cumbria teenager who progressed from cocaine to supply after running up a large debt has said his case further highlights the perils of taking illegal drugs.
Josh Lewis Conway, 19, found himself in the dock at Carlisle Crown Court after police stopped his car near Whitehaven in the early hours of July 14 last year.
Officers who noted him to be nervous and behaving oddly searched his vehicle and found more than two dozen snap-bags containing high purity cocaine inside. This was potentially worth up to £1,120. Police also analysed the teen’s phone and found “clear evidence of trafficking”.
Conway admitted possessing the class A drug with intent to supply on the basis that he had run up a debt approaching £1,000 as a result of his cocaine use. He reluctantly agreed to supply the substance over a fortnight in a bid to clear his arrears, believing he had no other option but to do as directed.
As he was sentenced today (FRI), his barrister Jamie Baxter told the court: “It wasn’t a sophisticated enterprise. It was short-lived. The problem with young men taking drugs is that you run up debt. Those higher up the chain, those with influence, exploit and coerce decent young men like Mr Conway into trafficking drugs for them.”
After hearing Conway had since addressed his drug use voluntarily, been offered an apprenticeship and distanced himself from negative peer influences, Recorder Andrew Nuttall took the “exceptional course” of suspending a 20-month jail term for 18 months. Conway, of Hinnings Road, Distington, must complete 220 hours’ unpaid work and rehabilitation, and was told by Recorder Nuttall: “You know very much now your future is in your own hands.”