Ex-soldier clears drug debt with cocaine deal

A former Army veteran has been given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for dealing cocaine to pay off drug debts.

John Brindley, 41, from Watford. Afghanistan.

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had been prescribed medication to treat it by a military doctor.

The court heard Brindley became addicted to drugs and was forced into drug dealing.

On June 29, 2023, police stopped a Mercedes in Watford and the Mercedes was directed to an address in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where Brindley was staying.

Officers found Brindley and 10 packages of 82% pure cocaine.

Prosecutor Philip Mizner told the court Mr Brindley had handed over £160 and said: “This was a transaction.”

Mr Meisner said prosecutors had accepted that Mr Brindley did not play a significant role in the drug supply.

Brindley, from Watford, appeared at St Albans Crown Court and pleaded guilty to possessing class A excavated material with intent to supply.

The court heard Brindley had received support from Op NOVA, a charity that supports ex-servicemen who have had contact with the justice system.

Brindley had served on active duty in Afghanistan and was prescribed medication to treat PTSD.

Recorder Ian Stern KC said the prosecution accepted Mr Brindley had been coerced into drug dealing.

The judge sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. Brindley said he must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and his 20 days of rehabilitation.

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