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Birmingham drugs dealer jailed after he forced a vulnerable man into selling drugs

November 11, 2014, 12:54 pm

A Birmingham drugs dealer, who forced a vulnerable man into selling drugs for him and then tried to blackmail his family into paying for his release, has been jailed for nine years.

Paul Russell, aged 44, from Herne Close, Ladywood was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday 7 November, after he was found guilty of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and blackmail.

The court heard how Russell had ‘recruited a vulnerable man in Birmingham City Centre in August 2013,  by befriending him and taking the man and his girlfriend to Norwich, where he housed him in a known crack cocaine den.

The man was then coerced to work for Russell by selling heroin and crack cocaine on the streets to users.

When the man tried to escape after three weeks, he was beaten by Russell and forced to call his family in Devon to ask for money to replace a ‘stash of drugs that Russell had accused him of losing.

The family received a number of distraught calls from the victim and Russell, that he was being held against his will and feared for his life.

In September 2013, the mans family travelled to Birmingham with the cash, but before the exchange took place, officers from the forces Serious and Organised Crime Unit, together with support from Pro Active Traffic units stopped Russells Mercedes Benz. The vehicle was brought to a safe stop at Coventry Road, Small Heath, Russell was arrested, the victim was recovered.

DCI Simon Wallis from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit said: “Russell took advantage of the mans vulnerability. The victim was not from the city and had clear mental health issues. Russell took him to Norwich, re-housed him in a crack den, coerced and then forced him to sell drugs. When the victim tried to leave, he was beaten, threatened and made to call his family to plead for cash for his safe release.”

“Fortunately the police were able to intercept Russells journey to Birmingham and arrest him. Russell was found to have a huge range of convictions, including assaults and dishonesty offences as well as drug trafficking, for which he has received custodial sentences. I welcome the fact he has now been jailed for nine years.”

” Although the man recruited by Russell was a victim in this case, it could not be ignored that he did take part in serious criminal offences, and he was separately charged with supplying Class A drugs, to which he pleaded guilty and was given an 18-month suspended sentence, earlier this year”.

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