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3 June 2011, 15:08 | Updated: 3 June 2011, 15:22
A drug dealer who was handed an eight and a half year jail sentence complained to the Judge that he was being treated more harshly than a rapist.
Leon Browne made his protest from the dock at Luton Crown Court on Thursday (June 2nd): "So I get more than a rapist then?"
But he was informed by Judge John Bevan QC that the last person he had sentenced for rape was jailed for almost twice that long.
Browne, 24, of Gladstone Road, Watford, had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply and two charges of possessing CS gas canisters as weapons.
He was jailed for seven and a half years for the cocaine charge and a further year for the weapons offences.
George Heimler, prosecuting, said police raided the Gladstone Road property on January 20th this year and under some floorboards they found 193 grammes of cocaine, some of it at high purity, skunk cannabis, cannabis resin, two CS gas canisters, scales and a dealer's list, which showed £56,000 of unpaid debts.
Also at the house they found 9 kgs of a powder used as a cutting agent for cocaine, £1,380 in cash, a money counter, and another CS gas canister.
David Batcup, defending, said Browne admitted he had been dealing drugs for about nine months, having taken over 'the business' from two brothers who had lodged at the house.
He said he was only storing the cutting agent for one of the brothers, and many of the debts on the list were money owed to them.
The barrister also said: "When police entered the house they went straight to the hiding place."
Judge Bevan told Browne: "It seems to me you were running a factory. It was a reasonably sophisticated commercial operation.
"Dealing cocaine to those who are addicted is a very serious criminal offence. Possessing CS gas as part of your trade is also a matter of some seriousness."