An Albanian man was ‘trafficked’ into the UK and forced to sell Class A drugs on the streets of Eastbourne.
Erion Kabashi, 29, was stopped by plain clothes police officers in Queens Gardens in the town and found with a stash of cocaine hidden in a Kinder egg.
Kabashi pleaded guilty to two charges of possession with intent to supply (cocaine and cannabis) and possessing a false identity document and appeared at Lewes Crown Court yesterday for sentencing.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Lamb told the court: “On November 8 last year Mr Kabashi was seen by officers in the town apparently undertaking drug dealing.
“He was stopped by the plain clothes police officers and arrested for being concerned in the supply of drugs.”
Kabashi was searched and officers found two bags of herbal cannabis strapped to his chest, a Kinder egg filled with cocaine and two mobile telephones.
When arrested he gave police the name David Restino – listed on an Italian identity card that turned out to be fake.
Defence barrister Gregory Fishwick said: “He accepted the false identity documentation so as to work and provide for his mother and father back in Albania.”
He said there an element of Kabashi being put in ‘servitude’ in order to pay off a £20,000 debt to those who brought him into the UK.
He asked that Kabashi be given credit for his guilty plea.
The court heard that Kabashi tried to claim a legal defence to his crimes under the Modern Slavery Act, but this was rejected.
Judge Mark van der Zwart said: “The trade in controlled drugs is a trade in poison. It exploits vulnerable people, people who become addicted to drugs.
“It ruins their health, it causes more crimes of dishonesty and because people want a share of the cash profits.
“There is evidence you were being at best exploited and at worst intimidated into doing this having been trafficked to the UK.”
Kabashi was jailed for 27 months.