Cheltenham drug dealer jailed after phone left at crash scene

Emma Grimshaw,BBC News, West of England

Gloucestershire Police

Anthony “AJ” Maher has a history of anti-social behaviour and violent offending

A “violent” drug dealer has been jailed after police linked a mobile phone to him, which was left at the scene of a collision.

Anthony “AJ” Maher, formerly of Moors Avenue, Cheltenham, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to dealing heroin and crack cocaine in the Gloucestershire town.

The 21-year-old used several phone numbers to send bulk text messages offering drugs for sale before booking taxis and meeting those who replied, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

“Maher is a well-known individual in Cheltenham who has a significant impact within the community due to his anti-social behaviour and violent offending,” a Gloucestershire Police spokesperson said.

Officers became aware of Maher’s drug dealing while investigating a drugs line operating within the town.

Officers were able to link Maher to the drugs line after a mobile phone was left at a crash scene in Hester’s Way on 11 September, 2023.

Maher was arrested on 11 November where he was found in possession of a Nokia 106 burner-style phone, which had a sim card that allowed him to send texts from multiple numbers at once.

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He was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court this week

He was not in possession of any drugs but text messages showed him discussing dealing heroin and crack cocaine.

Maher was charged with one count of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and one count of being concerned in the supply of heroin.

He pleaded guilty to both charges on 8 January and was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on 30 May.

“I am glad he has been taken off the streets and is no longer able to target those who he had been dealing drugs to,” the force spokesperson added.

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