Drug dealer's powerful letter explains how he got involved as youth
A drug dealer caught peddling heroin and crack cocaine for a third time told a judge: “I got my first strike out of stupidity, but the second and third out of fear.”
Callum Ochiela, 28, wound up in front of Oxford Crown Court after police found drugs and cash when they raided his girlfriend’s home in Greater Leys last October and his house off Abingdon Road in December.
During the first raid, on October 12, officers discovered a shoebox containing 28g of crack cocaine and heroin, digital scales and other drugs paraphernalia.
Ochiela was arrested at his home on December 15, when police seized mobile phones and a machete. During the two raids, they recovered more than £2,300 in cash.
There were also suggestions that Ochiela was linked to a teenager, arrested in a ‘cuckooed’ house in Oxford last year with cash, two iPhones and wraps of cocaine and heroin. The drug wrappings contained the defendant’s DNA.
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Ochiela, of Chatham Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty at the first court appearance to possession with intent to supply class A drugs and being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
It was his ‘third strike’, with two previous convictions for drug dealing in the past decade, putting him at risk of a mandatory prison sentence of seven years minus time off for his early guilty plea.
In a letter to the judge, Ochiela apologised for his behaviour and said getting into dealing drugs was the ‘biggest regret of my life’.
He had got involved in the trade through a group of peers, being ‘given nice things and food to eat’.
He initially thought nothing of the packages he was asked to deliver by his friends. By the time he found out what he was doing ‘it was already too late’.
He then found himself in debt to those higher-up the chain, the court heard, prompting him to continue selling drugs.
“I got my first strike out of stupidity but the second and third out of fear,” he said.
He now planned to ‘better himself’ by doing a university course while in prison that could help him find work on his release. He also wanted to work with children who might be vulnerable to getting involved in dealing drugs.
Recorder John Hardy KC said the letter demonstrated Ochiela’s ‘increasing maturity’.
Defending, Kellie Enever agreed with the judge. Her client had a difficult start in life and witnessed domestic violence as a child. He had gravitated towards peers who led him astray: “He was a boy that wanted a sense of belonging.”
The judge imposed five years and eight months’ imprisonment, the minimum sentence for a ‘third striker’.