Police found him sat in the wreckage of his smashed up car sniffing laughing gas

A heroin and crack dealer was caught after police responded to reports of a car crash and found him sat in the vehicle sniffing nitrous oxide canisters, a court has heard. When Ryan Whitehead was searched he was found to have 86 ready-to-sell Class A deals in his bum bag.

The 30-year-old’s barrister told Swansea Crown Court the defendant had had a “deep-rooted cannabis problem” for 12 years or more, and that his cannabis habit led to debt which led to dealing in Class A drugs.

Martha Smith-Higgins, prosecuting, said on March 17 this year the emergency services receives reports of a road traffic collision near Blaenavon, and when police arrived on the scene they found a man sat in the passenger seat of the crashed car sniffing a canister of nitrous oxide. The court heard there was a strong smell of cannabis in the vehicle, and the defendant appeared to be under the influence of something. A search of the car turned up another five laughing gas canisters.

The defendant was arrested and searched and in his bum bag police found 56 individual wraps of crack cocaine and 30 wraps of heroin with a combined street value of almost £4,000 while in his pockets was a quantity of cannabis and some £273 in cash. The court heard a Nokia burner phone was recovered and on it police found messages relating to the supply of Class A drugs including “text bombs” saying “Get your orders in” and one sent on the morning of his arrest saying “Active from 8.30. Drops. Both”. A second phone was also recovered but the defendant refused to divulge his PIN and this device could not be accessed..

Ryan Whitehead, of Welland Crescent, Bettws, Newport, had previously pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and possession of heroin with intent to supply, and to the simple possession of nitrous oxide and cannabis when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has 18 previous convictions for 28 offences but none of those involve drug trafficking.

Kevin Seal, for Whitehead, said for the last 12 years or more the defendant had had a “a very deep-rooted cannabis problem” and as a result had built up debts which had led to him dealing Class A drugs. He said the cannabis used by Whitehead was to self-medicate his mental health issues including a personality disorder, and that he was also prescribed Mirtazapine. The barrister said that at the time of the offending the defendant’s life had been “out of all control” and he was grateful nobody else had been injured in the collision.

With a one-quarter discount for his guilty pleas Recorder David Elias KC sentenced Whitehead to 45 months in prison comprising 45 months for each of the Class A dealing offences and two months for each of the simple possession offences all the run concurrently. The defendant will serve up to half the 45 months in prison before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

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