A 20-year-old student from the University of Kent has been sentenced to 30 months in prison on 22 October for drug-dealing related charges. This is after Kent Police raided his Medway accommodation.
Seif Khalid Hashim, a physiotherapy student, had his room raided by the police. Large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and cannabis were found, as well as scales and distribution bags pointing to a larger dealing web.
Alexandra Felix, prosecutor, said: “Whereas he may have been on a course, this was definitely somebody in the drug dealing business.”
Mr Hashim was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, and was subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order for five years.
This order forbids Mr Hashim to enter the Medway area, be in possession of more than one mobile phone SIM card or more than one mobile phone in public.
This is thought to be a landmark case, uncovering the reality of county line dealers becoming university students to have a credible alibi if faced with the police, and a larger potential market, being close to a university.
Dr Caroline Chatwin, a Reader in Criminology at the University of Kent, who specialises in drugs, told InQuire: “This seems like a run-of-the-mill case of a student at the University who is dealing drugs - and not one we should be particularly surprised about.”
The academic stressed that they did not believe the student used his physiotherapy degree as a “front” to sell drugs.
She added: “You don’t need to be a student to deal drugs at the University.”
“I’ve seen on this campus - Canterbury Campus - people who I don’t think are students handing out flyers in Freshers Week saying ‘Ring this number and I’ll deliver any drugs to you’”.
Hashim pleaded guilty to three drug charges related to County Lines at the Old Bailey in London.
Dr Chatwin described County Lines as: “Organised criminal gangs in big cities like London and Manchester are now sending drugs out to rural areas.”
However, they also contested reports that the student was “running” a county-lines gang.
“It says he lives in halls of residence in Medway, that is not a big city. It’s more likely that he’s being controlled by somebody in a big city than he’s the mastermind.
“It’s all back to front.”