Leicester businessman Depesh Ravalia jailed over cocaine find
A businessman caught with more than £11,000 worth of cocaine has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Depesh Ravalia (24) was convicted of possessing the class A drug with intent to supply by a jury at a recent trial.
Sentencing him at Leicester Crown Court yesterday, Judge Simon Hammond said Ravalia had lied during his court case, wrongly claiming the drug was for personal use.
His barrister, Nigel Mitchell, said he now accepted he was looking after the cocaine on behalf of another, as a custodian.
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At the earlier hearing, the court heard how a defective brake light on his car led to him being caught, on December 29 last year.
Ravalia, who runs a hairdressing business in the city, was stopped on St George's Way, in Leicester, because of the faulty light.
Officers were suspicious and found a small amount of the class C drug BZP inside a cap in the vehicle.
It resulted in Ravalia's home, in Huggett Close, Rushey Mead, Leicester, being searched.
Three cling film wraps, totalling 68 grams of cocaine, were found in his wardrobe.
Ravalia, a graduate, claimed during his trial that he bought the cocaine for £60 as a "treat" to have over Christmas.
He said he got it from a dealer on a street near his home.
He said he was not addicted to the drug and insisted it was for personal use.
Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said the cocaine was "high grade" with 27.87 grams of it having a purity of 76 per cent, 13.81 grams at 75 per cent and 27.2 grams at 49 per cent.
The average purity of street deals were said to be between 10 and 15 per cent.
Drugs expert, Detective Constable Iain Hollis, told the jury the 68 grams were worth £3,750 wholesale.
But he said it could be mixed with a cutting agent to achieve a greater volume, with a street value of £11,920.
The officer said the amount Ravalia was found with was "beyond realistic personal use".
He said it could have lasted a regular user a year.
Ravalia admitted possessing the BZP and possessing the cocaine for own use.
After being convicted unanimously of intending to supply the cocaine, Judge Hammond said Ravalia's account of having bought the cocaine for £60 was "ridiculous".
Judge Hammond said: "You told the jury you weren't addicted to cocaine so that means you were in it for money."