A DRUG dealer from Portsmouth who exploited a 17-year-old girl and used her to run drugs in Salisbury has been jailed for eight years.

Mushafau Sanusi, 26, of Fratton, Portsmouth, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday (June 9) for sentencing.

He was jailed for eight years for four counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin), two charges of possession of criminal property, possession of a bladed article, and driving while disqualified. He was also disqualified from driving for five years.

Officers from Wiltshire Police’s Operation Fortitude were carrying out plain-clothes patrols of Salisbury city centre in March last year when they witnessed a drug deal taking place in the River Walk area.

Mushafau Sanusi

Mushafau Sanusi

As part of their enquiries they arrested two people – a 17-year-old girl from Portsmouth and a 45-year-old local man – on suspicion of being involved with drug dealing.

They quickly realised that the teenage girl was being exploited and she was released under investigation and referred through the National Referral Mechanism as a suspected victim of modern slavery.

During the investigation they seized a moped from Salisbury Railway Station, which had around £4,000 worth of Class A drugs stored under the seat, as well as various mobile phones.

These phones led police to Sanusi and he was arrested a few days later in the Portsmouth area and around £2,600 in cash was seized.

The court heard that investigations by both Wiltshire Police and Hampshire Police showed that he was responsible for running two drugs lines in Portsmouth and Salisbury.

The Judge also highlighted Sanusi's exploitation of the vulnerable teenage girl found in Salisbury, as well as others, during his sentencing.

During the case, Matthew Hamilton, 33, of Fratton, who was one of Sanusi’s runners in Portsmouth, admitted two charges of supplying Class A drugs and was given a 12-month community order.

'Drug dealers bring misery and violence to our communities'

PC Tim Stevens, from Operation Fortitude, which is a specialised team which targets the most prolific and serious offenders in Swindon and Wiltshire, welcomed Sanusi’s sentence.

He said: “Drug dealers like Sanusi exploit and manipulate vulnerable people, like the 17-year-old girl in this particular case, to carry out the work of their drugs operations in various towns and cities.

“Not only do they cause great harm to these so-called runners, who often find themselves threatened and intimidated, but they bring with them misery and violence for our local communities.

“We are committed to stamping out this type of illegal behaviour and safeguarding those at risk.”

Police urge anyone with information about drug dealing in their local area to report this it.

Call 999 if a crime is in progress, or call 101.

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