Refugee faces jail for drug dealing
A REFUGEE who peddled heroin on a West Country cycle path is facing a jail term.
Richard Longa was caught by a police dog after a chase through undergrowth next to the Tarka Trail in North Devon.
He was arrested on suspicion of drug dealing three times in a week and eventually caught asleep in bed with another male drug dealer at a house in Woolsery.
Longa and his fellow dealer Ricky Dutton were targeted by a police operation after walkers and riders on the Tarka Trail near Bideford reported suspicious activity.
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The two men went to the area to smoke cannabis together but also sold heroin and cocaine, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Officers tried to catch the pair by approaching from both sides of the trail at the same time but they fled into fields and woodland. Longa was tracked down by the dog named Arnie by the riverbank of a section of the trail between East-the-Water and the old iron bridge leading to Torrington.
A specialist drugs dog found discarded packages of both heroin and cocaine which he and Dutton had ditched during the chase.
Longa, 23, of Alma Villa, Woolsery, currently living at Sycamore Road, Reading, denied possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply.
He was found guilty and Judge John Neligan adjourned the case so both defendants can be sentenced together. Dutton, from Bideford, had admitted the same offences
The judge remanded Longa in custody and called for pre-sentence reports after being told that he had come to Britain at the age of 10 from Sudan and was traumatised by having seen horrific scenes as a child in that country's civil wars.
The judge remanded him in custody and said: "For possession of class A drugs with intent to supply there is no real option other than in quite extraordinary circumstances, which I cannot see in this case. Prison is inevitable."
Longa did not give evidence but earlier told police he went to the trail to smoke cannabis with Dutton and had nothing to do with the sale of hard drugs.