England

'Meow Meow' drug dealer Vishal Nazar jailed

Vishal Nazar Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Vishal Nazar's barrister said he dealt drugs because of "financial temptation, stupidity and foolishness"

A gang member who sold mephedrone, also known as M-Cat and Meow Meow, has been jailed for five years.

Vishal Nazar, 37, of Danvers Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to deal methylmethcathinone and ketamine.

Sentencing Nazar, Judge Ian Pringle called him a crucial and "trusted" member of the operation.

Ciaran Macdonough, of Margaret Road, Twyford, who transported drugs, got a 16-month suspended sentence.

A third man, James Screeton, of Willes Close, Faringdon, was not sentenced after a failed television link up with Bullingdon prison. His case was adjourned for two weeks.

Oxford Crown Court heard that police observed Nazar having several meetings with Screeton - in which money, boxes and bags were exchanged - and also found his DNA on a piece of chewing gum.

Screeton in turn had dealings with his courier Macdonough who was stopped by police with 3kg of methylmethcathinone, which could be worth up to £75,000.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Seven men, all from Oxford, were taken into custody by police

Defending Nazar, Alistair Grainger described him as a family man who was drawn into drug dealing by "financial temptation, stupidity and foolishness".

He added that he had recently "overcome some hurdles" including a "significant brain tumour removed from above his right ear" which had made him partially deaf.

In summing up, Judge Pringle said he had committed the crimes for "pure financial gain" and had been "extremely valuable" to the operation.

The men were arrested following police raids in August 2015 when more than 100 officers executed warrants at seven homes.

Cash, cars and a quantity of suspected drugs were seized, with about 2kg of ketamine found in Nazar's kitchen cupboard.

Another man arrested following the raids, Jivani Hussain, 52, of Kenilworth Road, Ashford, Surrey, pleaded not guilty to supplying a Class B drug and was acquitted in June.

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