Driver snared after helping drug dealer

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

A van driver was ordered to do 100 hours’ community work after giving a drugs dealer a lift to a customer - who turned out to be an undercover cop.

Carl Sooki was caught in Operation Verdana, a police initiative to combat drug use around Chesterfield, Derby Crown Court heard on Friday.

He admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine, a class A drug. Sooki, 27, of Clowne Road, Stanfree, must wear an electronic tag and obey a two-month curfew and pay a £60 government surcharge.

Judge Jonathan Gosling said class A drug dealers could expect to go straight to prison but he told Sooki: “It is impossible to imagine somebody being less seriously implicated in a supply. You were helping this man move house and he asked you for a favour. Initially, you didn’t expect it would involve drugs. You did not profit in the sale and you were not directly involved.”

Sarah Slater, prosecuting, said Operation Verdana involved undercover police officers contacting suspected dealers.

A police officer, named only as J, sent a text message to a possible dealer. He received a phone call telling him to look out for a large removal van.

This was driven by Sooki, who took no part in the deal. A passenger handed drugs to the officer and received £70 in the incident on October 26 before being arrested.

When police arrested Sooki, he told them he had been helping the other man move house and hired a Luton van, added Miss Slater.