Well-known Cheltenham drug dealer taken off the streets

Anthony "AJ" Maher
-Credit: (Image: Gloucestershire Police)

A well-known dealer known for anti-social behaviour has been jailed for selling heroin and crack cocaine in Cheltenham. Anthony 'AJ' Maher, aged 21 and formerly of Moors Avenue, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison at Gloucester Crown Court this afternoon, Thursday, May 30.

Gloucestershire Police's Vanguard Team became aware of Maher's drug dealing while investigating a drugs line which was operating within the town. He had been using several phone numbers to offer drugs for sale before using taxis to meet those who replied to him.

Police said he sent bulk texts with messages such as "Active 24/7 Best of Both". Officers then linked Maher to the drugs line after a mobile phone was left at the scene of a crash in Hester’s Way on September 11, 2023.

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The phone was forensically downloaded and attributed to Maher. The device name showed as 'AJ`s iPhone' and the Apple ID included his name in the email address.

Other linked telephone numbers were also identified which showed calls to a number of local taxi companies. Maher had booked all six taxis under his middle name and made regular trips between his home and areas where he dealt drugs.

Police eventually arrested him on November 11 last year. He was found in possession of a Nokia 106 burner-style phone which had a dual sim that allowed him to send texts from multiple numbers at once.

Despite not being in possession of any drugs, text messages were indicative of drug supply. He had held multiple conversations discussing the dealing of heroin and crack cocaine.

Anthony "AJ" Maher
Anthony 'AJ' Maher sold heroin and crack cocaine -Credit:Gloucestershire Police

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 Monday, January 8.

A Gloucestershire Police spokesperson said: "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. I am glad that he has been taken off the streets and is no longer able to target those who he had been dealing drugs to."

The force added: "Anyone who has concerns or intelligence about drug dealing can report this via the following link. Alternatively you can report information anonymously through the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting their website."