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Drug dealer was ‘in the Highlands to make some money fast’

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Sheriff Court is at Inverness Justice Centre.
Inverness Sheriff Court is at Inverness Justice Centre.

A serious organised crime gang recruited two young Romanian men to sell cocaine in the Highlands.

But when police became suspicious of an unregistered car in Sir Walter Scott Drive, Inverness late on September 23, 2023, it led them to arrest the driver, 21-year-old Joan Ofrim and later his accomplice, 22-year-old Marcel Pitic.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told when Ofrim was approached, he became nervous and reached into his pocket.

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Fiscal depute Susan Love said the officers detained Ofrim on suspicion of possessing drugs and a search of his pocket revealed five 1 gram wraps of cocaine, worth around £500 and £430 in cash.

Ms Love said: "He told them that he was in the Highlands to make some money fast and was staying in a room at Waverley Lodge in Dingwall."

Ms Love said the police then went to the accommodation where they found Pitic and seized another 53.6 grams of the Class A narcotic plus other drugs paraphernalia.

"Pitic was interviewed and he said he came to Scotland a few days earlier to look for his cousin,” she said.

"He had a telephone number but when he rang it, he was told by a group selling cocaine he had to sell cocaine or he would be harmed.

"He would sell the drugs he was given, hand over the money and get more drugs to sell. He was also told he would be paid £1500-a-week but had not received any money."

Sheriff Gary Aitken later commented: "So he has been diddled by criminals."

Pitic, of Dragomiresti, and Ofrim, from Boston in Lincolnshire, admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs.

Solicitor advocate for Pitic, Christopher MacFarlane said: "He was a small cog in a much bigger machine. His intention is to return to Romania on his release."

Ofrim's defence agent, Marc Dickson said: "He bitterly regrets his participation."

Both men received 18-month custodial sentences, backdated to September 25 last year which effectively means they will be released almost immediately.

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