A London teenager has been jailed for almost three years for dealing thousands of pounds worth of drugs to help his struggling mother with household bills.
Mustafa Hussein claimed his mum was working two jobs as money was tight in the house, so he started selling drugs to pay the £3,000 rent arrears.
The 19-year-old took drug packages from where he lived in Canning Town, east London, to Kent and was handed a knife and a mobile phone by criminals. One of four children, he wanted to be able to support the family and was told of a way of making money.
Police officers sitting in an unmarked car noticed the 19-year-old talking to two known drug users in the High Brooms area, Kent, on September 27. When the officers got out of the car, Hussein began to run, but he was caught and arrested with a large quantity of drugs.
Asked about his involvement in the drugs trade, he said they “poisoned society” and he would receive £500 a week to carry out the dealing.
At Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday, Hussein, who dropped out of college to support his mother, who was £3,000 in rent arrears, admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply.
His lawyer submitted there were exceptional circumstances for imposing a suspended sentence.
Charlotte Brewer, defending, said: “I am not seeking to excuse or justify his behaviour for one moment. He acknowledges what he did is wrong. This is the biggest mistake of his life.
“He is not now able to help his mother. He was offered a quick fix solution. He was caught at his most vulnerable point in his life.
“He was being paid to take a bag of drugs from one place to another. I submit it is an exceptional case where an immediate custodial sentence would achieve only utter devastation for him.”
But the Judge Charles McDonald QC said he was under a duty to pass a deterrent sentence, especially as he was carrying a knife.
He added: “The mitigation is your young age and misguided attempt to attempt to help your mother. Previous good character carries little weight.
“Being a drug dealer on the street, to carry a knife carries an inherent risk of violence.”