Dog breeder spurred into drug dealing to repay loaned ransom07/19/2021
Dog breeder spurred into drug dealing to repay loaned ransom he paid for return of his stolen pedigree puppies is jailed for nearly 10 years
- Jamal Fournillier featured in a BBC Panorama programme about ‘county lines’
- Court heard he resorted to dealing class A drugs after his puppes were stolen
- Concerned for their fate, he borrowed £6,000 ‘at short notice’ and got in debt
A dog breeder who became a drug dealer to repay money he borrowed for the safe return of stolen pedigree puppies has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years.
Jamal Fournillier featured in a BBC Panorama programme earlier this year about the fight against ‘county lines’ gangs supplying crack cocaine and heroin.
But a court heard he only resorted to dealing class A drugs after the theft of highly valuable puppies during a break-in at his breeding business.
Jamal Fournillier became involved in drug dealing to pay off a loan he took out to retrieve his stolen pedigree puppies
Concerned for their fate, he borrowed £6,000 ‘at short notice’ for the dogs’ safe return, only to be left with a debt to repay.
The 27-year-old’s subsequent involvement in drugs supply to pay it off was included in an episode of the investigative series titled ‘Drugs, Cops and Lockdown’.
Broadcast in May, it focused on Kent Police’s Operation Raptor team as it tackled drug operations in north Kent during the country’s first pandemic lockdown.
Fournillier, a former catering student, was arrested in February last year following raids at two properties at which the drugs were discovered along with £3,000 cash.
Police caught him red-handed as he tried to flush some of his illicit stash down the toilet.
Officers also found further drugs in an airing cupboard, an antique, but potentially-lethal, handgun hidden in a sock in an unzipped man bag, and corresponding ammunition.
Fournillier’s claim he did not realise it was a real firearm was disputed by the court, but it was accepted he had simply acted as a custodian.
Judge Catherine Moore also told Fournillier she found him to be ‘ambitious and devoted’ to both his breeding enterprise and his dogs, and that he had been ‘highly concerned’ about the fate and welfare of the ‘very young’ puppies.
However, on passing sentence at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, on Thursday she said his resulting actions had ‘the hallmarks of professional-level crime’ above street-dealing.
Fournillier, from Gillingham, Kent, admitted two charges of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, one of possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a certificate.
The court heard he has four previous convictions for eight offences, all drug-related, but none associated with dealing since 2013.
Alex Rose, defending, said that but for the ‘quite exceptional circumstances’ of the puppies being taken, Fournillier would not have resorted to such criminality.
‘He had set up a legitimate business breeding and selling dogs, and he had no financial motivation to commit these offences until the criminal act of the burglary and the dogs being stolen led to his desperation and destitution, and turning to someone for money who was likely to bring him back into offending,’ he told the court.
‘He made a terrible mistake under quite exceptional circumstances, which he bitterly regrets and is remorseful for. He knows better than most the damage that drugs cause.’
The court heard one of the three properties used by Fournillier to spread his illegal stash, including the gun, was the home of a single mum who herself was arrested and charged.
However, legal proceedings against her were later discontinued after Fournillier pleaded guilty.
Judge Catherine Moore also told Fournillier she found him to be ‘ambitious and devoted’ to both his breeding enterprise and his dogs, and that he had been ‘highly concerned’ about the fate and welfare of the ‘very young’ puppies
But Judge Moore said he had shown ‘little or no regard’ for the woman’s child by leaving the weapon, capable of killing two or more people at a time or in rapid succession, easily accessible on an open shelf.
‘The offending is particularly grave because it involves not only the supply of class A drugs but also the possession of a firearm loaded with ammunition and capable of causing very serious or fatal injury,’ she added.
‘Class A drugs are a scourge of our society and the use of them has a devastating effect on lives and on our communities.
‘Your offending may have stemmed from the loss of your puppies but you were motivated to make money.’
Detective Constable John Carless of Kent Police said: ‘Fourneillier admitted to using the properties, which were not his, to store and hide the drugs, cash and gun. Luckily the firearm was found and seized by officers as it could have had dire consequences if it had got into the wrongs hands.
‘Fourneillier was a key player in coordinating drugs out of London to be brought and sold onto vulnerable people across Maidstone and Medway. His sentence is lengthy and reflects the level of criminality he was prepared to go to.’
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