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Cocaine dealer and brother jailed for trying to smuggle drugs into Maidstone prison

A convicted drug dealer has had his sentence extended after trying to smuggle drugs into prison.

Joe Blankson, 32, was serving at HMP Maidstone for dealing cocaine, when his older brother Henry Blankson came to visit.

Officers spotted the 37-year-old drop a packet full of white powder during his visit in May last year.

Henry Blankson, from Bournemouth, has been jailed for two years. (1479026)
Henry Blankson, from Bournemouth, has been jailed for two years. (1479026)

The younger brother placed his foot over the packet and put it in his shoe.

Prison officers searched him after the visit and discovered 3.8g of cocaine.

Police then raided Henry Blankson's Bournemouth home, where they seized cannabis and cash.

Maidstone Prison (1478524)
Maidstone Prison (1478524)

He was arrested the following day and charged with giving a prohibited article to a prisoner and possession of cannabis.

His brother was charged with causing a person to bring a prohibited article into a prison.

Despite denying the offences, the brothers were found guilty and sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on April 11.

Joe Blankson was jailed for a further four years while Henry Blankson will serve a two year sentence.

Passing sentence, Judge Martin Huseyin said he was reducing Henry Blankson’s sentence because his brother persuaded him to smuggle the drugs into prison.

He told Joe Blankson: “You know better than anyone, I suspect, the menace Class A drugs are in prison. You were there for dealing in Class A drugs.

“You put yourself in a position where you could supply drugs to others in order to keep your own habit going.

“They are a menace in prison, leading to all sorts of problems. An aggravating feature is you took advantage of his family loyalty. You are partly responsible for his position.”

The sentencing range was up to seven years, said the judge, but an important mitigating factor was he had completely changed his attitude to life.

After being moved to HMP Elmley on Sheppey he was described as a model prisoner with a positive outlook.

Judge Huseyin added: “Very importantly, it is believed you are progressing through the system very well. These are very important bits of mitigation for you.

“My hope is you will be able to cope on licence and not go back to prison, and we will not see you again.”

The judge told Henry Blankson he had concluded he committed the offence to help his brother, and not for financial gain.

“Character references speak highly of you,” he said. “It is not appropriate to suspend the sentence for offences of this sort unless it is an exceptional case, which does not apply in this case.

“It must be understood that those who take drugs into prison can expect to go to prison themselves. Prisons are covered in notices about what will happen.”

Det Sgt Dan Barker said: "Kent Police takes the supply of drugs into prison extremely seriously. When they get into the hands of prisoners they fuel violence, medical emergencies and also lead to further crimes being committed, both inside and outside the prison estate.

"I hope these sentences are a deterrent to any prisoner or prison visitor who might consider trying to smuggle drugs into a prison establishment."

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