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no pablo Convicted drug dealer says he's 'no Escobar' after receiving death threats

"The drugs were for friends for a party. I have had a bullet through the post from who I don't know, UDA, UVF, I don't know the difference, I am from Romania."

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Alex Mizu says the drugs he was found with were for personal use but fears trouble from gangs

Alex Mizu says the drugs he was found with were for personal use but fears trouble from gangs

Alex Mizu says the drugs he was found with were for personal use but fears trouble from gangs

Convicted drug dealer Alex Mizu says he is no Pablo Escobar.

Despite recent convictions for carrying offensive weapons and drug possession, he insists he is being wrongly caricatured as a drug dealer.

And after receiving a series of threats, he said it was a smear that was putting his life at risk.

In an open and frank interview with the Sunday World, the 30-year-old from Romania insisted he was not a drug dealer, that the drugs found on him were for personal use and to be used at a party with friends.

And he said the weapons he was carrying were for his own protection.

Catalin Mizu, known as Alex, admitted possessing 'half a snooker cue' and a bat as offensive weapons at Waveney Road in Ballymena and he also admitted charges of the supply of cannabis and possession of cocaine and cannabis in January, 2021.

Since his drug conviction was made public in the media, he has received a bullet through the post from loyalist paramilitaries in the Ballymena area.

He wants them to know he is no threat to their lucrative drug business, he is not a drug dealer and that, although he has made mistakes, he is determined to turn his life around.

"I am not an angel but I am not a drug dealer, " he said.

"The drugs were for friends for a party. I have had a bullet through the post from who I don't know, UDA, UVF, I don't know the difference, I am from Romania."

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Mizu at a loyalist mural in Belfast this week – he says he doesn’t understand the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland

Mizu at a loyalist mural in Belfast this week – he says he doesn’t understand the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland

Mizu at a loyalist mural in Belfast this week – he says he doesn’t understand the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland

He said he and his family had been left reeling in the wake of the threats and a warning to leave their home within 48 hours.

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"I was given 48 hours to leave, I went to the police and that was sorted but it was very hard on us, my mum in particular was very, very scared. We got scared even more when we heard about them (paramilitaries) and what they are capable of."

And that, he says, is why he feels compelled to carry weapons.

"The reason I carried weapons is because I'm a small man and when someone tried to attack me and my father, I initially pretended to have something in the car.

"The man who was a former friend of mine is a big, big man but when he thought I had something he left so I thought to myself - this is something I can do to protect myself and my family."

Mizu admits he was involved in a feud with people known to him and that there had been at least one violent altercation.

But it is his conviction for possession of drugs - cannabis and cocaine - that he knows is placing at further risk of attack.

He received a suspended sentence which he regarded as extreme as he has no previous convictions for drugs.

"If I step out of line in the next 18 months I go to jail but I don't think my crimes deserve that, I am not a major drug dealer, I am not a strong, big person like the people who jumped me.

"The man I have a feud with knows how to fight, I don't, which is why I carry weapons."

He said when he was caught with weed, cocaine and a baseball bat there were two more people in the car but they were not charged.

His family home was searched five times with sniffer dogs and nothing has been found.

"Five grammes of weed and the cocaine were for a party I just had it on me. I was so stressed by the raid and the police always following me round the town, the harassment, I couldn't go to work for two weeks and that's where I want to be, in work, and not the person I used to be."

He said he had been made to look like the "biggest drug dealer in town".

"I took drugs, but I've stopped, I never drink - drink does not suit me. I'm not going to lie, when I was taking coke and weed I had some very dark moments.

"Some people choose vodka, in my twenties I used to drink, but I did too many silly things, but I'm determined not to do that anymore."

He said he was focused on making a better future for himself and his family, who moved here from Romania 10 years ago, and who he admitted had suffered the consequences of his past actions.

"My father had lung cancer, lymphoma, he is not strong, he's had a lung removed. My mother, after the bullet incident, was so upset she had a problem with her heart. Again, I'm not an angel but I don't want to upset my parents any more. I'm not a drug dealer."

He fears he is viewed as a rival on the drug-riddled streets of Ballymena.

"People think because of the reports in the media that I am some big hotshot, I want people to know I'm not that person.

"This has been a nightmare since January, I just want it to stop.

"It's been very bad times but now I am better I have dark times but I am better and I'm sticking to what I need to do. I go to work and I support my two children. I support my dad who needs care."

He also alleged police harassment.

"They want to put me in jail but that's a place I'll never go."

paula.mackin@sundayworld.com

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