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Gloucestershire Business News

Cocaine drug gang foot soldier sentenced

For comfort you might think a cuddly toy would suffice, but when police raided the home of a drug gang 'foot soldier' they found him in bed holding a ball of cocaine worth £6,000.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how police discovered 30-year-old Alexander Janta-Lipinski under his duvet with a 45.08 gram ball of the drug, described as a "high purity" form.

It was estimated that cut into half a gram doses for street dealing it would have been worth £6,000.

"Also on the side of the bed was a mobile phone with drug-related messages," said the prosecuting barrister Janine Wood.

One of the messages in the inbox read 'I'm looking for rocket fuel'.

"It is the Crown's view that this defendant played a significant role in dealing in Class A drugs supply," the prosecutor said.

"The cocaine was delivered to his door and was of 72 per cent purity, which is high."

Nevertheless, Janta-Lipinski, whose partner is due to give birth to their first child next month, walked free from court.

Defending lawyer Jason Coulter said: "My client is a skilled and talented carpenter who has only had one motoring conviction to his name.

"He has led a productive and honest life, but he has his demons. These led to alcohol and drug abuse.

"He was drawn into the world of drug dealing by initially being given cocaine and thus getting into debt.

"He became a foot soldier to do the dirty work for others higher up the chain. He was made to hold drugs and the phone.

"He has already been attacked by other dealers and is frightened at what might happen to him."

Recorder Elisabeth Bussey-Jones told Janta-Lipinski, of Brunswick Street, Cheltenham, he was "extremely lucky" to have avoided immediate custody, but imposed a two-year jail sentence suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and was placed on a one-month curfew order at Gloucester Crown Court.

The judge told him: "You are now free of drugs and you have taken determined steps to change your ways.

"You suffered abuse from your father when you were a child. Drugs can and will ruin your life and you have been extremely lucky today not to be taken down to the cells."

On being sentenced, Janta-Lipinski said "Thank you, Your Honour," before turning around in the dock of Courtroom One and walking to freedom.

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