Gym boss who lost job in lockdown tempted into life of crime selling cocaine from Preston house

Nabeel Issawi was arrested at a terraced house in Preston

A gym boss who lost his job because of coronavirus and was tempted into a life of crime was arrested at a house in Preston.

Nabeel Issawi was left ‘stranded’ with no ability to earn and was ‘foolishly’ tempted into serious crime, Manchester Crown Court heard this week. A law enforcement hack of the secretive and highly encrypted EncroChat network revealed that Issawi, 33, then became involved in dealing huge amounts of drugs, the MEN reports.

In 2014 Issawi was jailed for more than six years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was involved with the gym at HMP Kirkham and after being released he worked as a gym instructor, the court heard.

The 33-year-old was linked to the supply of more than 60 kilos of cocaine, between April and June in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Prosecutors said that Issawi used the EncroChat handle ‘Famous one is back’, and was in contact with another user called ‘Greymoon’.

The pair spoke about buying kilos of cocaine and selling them on, prosecutor Duncan Wilcock said. But Issawi’s barrister said the defendant made ‘very little money’ from his involvement in drug dealing.

“This defendant was arrested in a two up two down, back to back in Preston,” Paul Hodgkinson said. “That is not his home, he was renting.”

Mr Hodgkinson said Issawi had got a job as a manager in a gym, and was enrolling in a sports science degree. “This defendant tried to make a go out of it,” he said. “Things were going well, and lockdown occurred.”


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