Drug dealer jailed for cocaine plot in Maida Vale pensioner’s home

A drug dealer who claimed he was a handyman fixing a TV when he was caught with �25,000 worth of cocaine at a Maida Vale pensioner’s home has been jailed for 32 months.

Johnny St Louis, 40, was brought in to test the purity of the class A powder at a flat in Randolph Avenue belonging to innocent John Demko, 65, the Old Bailey heard on Wednesday last week.

St Louis tried to hurl drug paraphernalia out of the window after realising undercover police were watching the building.

Officers pounced after Anton Pali, 29, was seen leaving the flat at 2.30pm on October 26 last year with a rucksack full of cash from the drug transaction.

Police found more than half a kilo of cocaine in the kitchen and garden below, as well as weighing scales and surgical gloves. When arrested, St Louis claimed he had been to the flat “to fix the television”.

Last month a jury found Mr Demko not guilty of any offence despite the fact that he was in the kitchen with the drugs when police raided his flat.

Mr Demko’s counsel told the jury he had been “used and betrayed” by St Louis who had previously lodged at the flat.

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He had retained a key to it because he often helped the pensioner who suffered from ill health.

Sentencing St Louis, of Westbourne Park, to 32 months, and Pali, of no fixed address, to 16 months, Recorder Nigel Peters QC told them they had taken part in an “evil operation”.

He said: “I’m not going to lecture you – you are grown, adult men and know the dangers of drugs. It is a seriously nasty trade.

“Those who involve themselves, as you both did, have to be punished.”

Andrew McGee, defending Pali, said the courier had been paid �200 to take the drugs to the buyers and then ferry the bundles of cash back to the sellers.

The court heard Pali, who moved to the UK in 2003, has already signed papers agreeing to be deported to his native Albania following his release from prison.

St Louis’ defence counsel Colin Wells warned: “There are others beyond these two financing that level of purchase.”

St Louis admitted possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and Pali admitted being concerned in the supply of a class A drug.