A DEALER who “exploited a vulnerable 15-year-old girl as a drug mule” has been jailed for organising the sale of crack cocaine and heroin.

Rasheed Shittu, 33, held a “senior management position” in a gang selling drugs in Basildon and surrounding areas between September 2021 and May 2023 before he was arrested.

During Shittu’s time managing runners, a 15-year-old girl was arrested on November 6, 2022, in possession of 100 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin in her bedroom.

In police interviews she said she was holding drugs for “Rash” who taught her how to look after the drugs.

Shittu was arrested on May 18 last year as officers raided his home in Southend, pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin and one count of converting criminal property.

He was jailed for more than five years at Southend Crown Court yesterday.

Toby Roseman, prosecuting, said: “It is accepted ground that the defendant was part of the KC drug line in a mid-level role, but on the higher end of the mid level.

“It is also accepted that Mr Shittu was directing day-to-day running of the line from a safe distance.

“Part of his accepted basis of plea is Mr Shittu was not the head of the line but a middle man, runners would sell drugs and Mr Shittu would collect the cash and pass it up to those higher up in the line whilst being reimbursed for that service.”

The court heard Shittu accrued a debt of £20,000 from dealers following the death of his brother who he was supporting.

Between September 2021 and May 2023, Shittu was responsible for moving 3.4kg of crack cocaine and heroin.

A substantial amount of “high value” trainers valued at an estimated £30,000 was also seized.

Jack Jennett, mitigating, said: “Mr Shittu has no previous or relevant recent convictions and he has expressed his remorse to me and by giving an early guilty plea.

“He has two children and is supported by his current wife and has spent his time in custody wisely.”

Recorder Richard Hanley sentenced Shittu.

He said: “By controlling a 15-year-old girl you sought to use her and exploit her age and vulnerability.”

Shittu, of Swanage Road, Southend, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.