Sixteen gang members have been jailed for more than 61 years for running Class A drugs through County Lines across the South East.
Those convicted include Connell Bamgboye, 25 of New Park Road, SW2 was jailed for six years; Chris Thomas, 23 of Masey Mews, SW2 was jailed for four years and six months; Rhys Walcott-Holder, 23 of Vibart Gardens, SW2 was jailed for four years; Shemiah Bell, 27 of Tilson Gardens, SW2 was jailed for four years and eight months; David Mundle, 23 of Clarence Avenue, SW4 was jailed for five years; Kyle Milton, 18 of Tilson Gardens, SW2 was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years; Ryeene Cowan, 24 of Fenton Close, SW9 was jailed for seven and a half years; Sadjo Diakite, 21 of Miranda Close, Coventry was jailed for three years and four months; Tife Orawusi, 20 (16.4.1999) of New Park Road, SW2 was jailed for three years and four months; and Kayce Leigh, 20 of Cassell House, SW9 was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years.
They all pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin).
They were all charged with one count of participating in an Organised Crime Group (OCG) which was left to lie on file.
Then, Mohammed Jalloh, 20 of Forster Road, SW2 was jailed for four years and six months; Taylor Mackey, 24 of Sangley Road, SE6 was jailed for four years; Darnell Bailey-King, 21 of Challice Way, SW2 was jailed for three years and six months; Tevin Nugent, 23 of Valley Road, SW16 was jailed for four years and six months; Robert Allison, 20 of Clarence Avenue, SW4 was jailed for four years; and Geoffrey Allen, 56 (27.12.1962) of no fixed abode was jailed for three years, pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin) and one count of participating in an Organised Crime Group (OCG) but were convicted following trial:
They were jailed as the result of a joint investigation between the Met’s Specialist Crime South and Kent Police’s Operation Raptor. Operation Raptor teams focus on disrupting and dismantling criminals linked to county lines, drugs, and the exploitation of vulnerable people.
Between August 2018 and November 2018 officers identified the gang were running the following five County Lines:
The Si Line was run from London into Bognor Regis, Sussex with Bamgboye as the primary owner. Walcott-Holder and Thomas controlled the line for short periods in Bamgboye’s absence. Initially, Thomas acted as a runner for the gang but was later promoted through the ranks. He became responsible for the resupply of drugs to Bognor Regis and oversaw the transportation of people to run the physical dealing – a role Leigh carried out. Phone records showed Leigh regularly updated Thomas on the profit made and amount of product remaining. She also frequently travelled between London and Bognor Regis to resupply the line. Thomas relied on a network of others in order to perform his role including Mackey, Nugent, Allison, and Bailey-King. Mackey was present on every identified journey carried out by Thomas, acting as a driver on the majority of trips.
The AJ line, owned by Thomas, was infrequently operated in towns and villages on the borders of Berkshire, Hampshire, and Surrey. Its periods of operation coincided with the presence of either Thomas, Mackey or Nugent in the area. This was the only identified drugs line where the line-owner would spend extended periods of time in the dealing location.
Mundle ran the Pepsi line between London and Medway, Kent. He used a number of addresses and runners in the area to store and sell the drugs. Diakitie was found inside an address linked to the line on 26 July 2018, along with large quantities of crack and heroin. Analysis of Diakite’s phone demonstrated he had regular communication with the Pepsi line.
Mundle was arrested on 2 November 2018 and was found to be in possession of 362 wraps of heroin and the phone running the line.
Bell ran the Jeezy line between London and Medway with the assistance of Milton.
On 20 June 2018 Allen was stopped in in Castle Road, Chatham and found to be in possession of 16 wraps of Class A drugs and a mobile phone linking him to the line. On 6 August 2018 police visited Grange Hill, Chatham and found Cowan inside an address with more than 600 wraps of Class A drugs. Examination of phone call data showed Cowan was in regular contact with the line.
The gang were also responsible for the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in several parts of South London.
The method of operation, in this case, is typical of county lines. The line holders managed the lines from London, directing younger members of the gang to ‘cuckoo’ addresses in the Home Counties to conduct sales from. These addresses often belonged to local drug users.
Due to the hierarchal system of the gang, those in the middle tiers – such as Thomas – sometimes managed the lines themselves as they did not have younger members working for them.
In the later stages of the investigation, officers carried out a weapons sweep of the communal areas surrounding Shemiah Bell’s address in Tilson Gardens, SW2. Just 15 metres from his front door, officers found 282 packages of heroin, a large quantity of cocaine and a smaller quantity of cannabis.
The investigation culminated in a large-scale arrested phase carried out in partnership with Kent Police on 15 November 2018. The operation involved more than 200 officers and was supported by local borough teams and other specialist units across the Met.
Warrants were carried out at the following addresses: New Park Road, SW2; Vibart Gardens, SW2; Sangley Road, SE6; Masey Mews, SW2; Valley Road, SW16; Challice Way, SW2; Stockwell Gardens Estate, SW9; Tilson Gardens, SW2; and Clarence Ave, SW4.
Officers seized a large quantity of Class A and B drugs, approximately £10,000 cash and a range of suspected stolen goods.
Detective Inspector Anthony Jones from the Met's Specialist Crime South said: "This investigation is the result of months of hard work carried out by my officers in close collaboration with colleagues from Kent Police. They all showed exceptional commitment in bringing these 16 offenders to justice.
“County Lines remains a national issue, but as this investigation shows, we will work closely with colleagues from other forces to share intelligence, gather evidence and dismantle drug dealing networks.
“There is a clear link between the drug supply and the violence we have seen unfold on the streets of London. By disrupting the activity of this organised crime group, we have reduced the violent activity which blighted local communities in the months prior to this investigation.
“But we are not complacent, and we will continue to identify and pursue those intents on participating in criminal activity. Tackling violence is, and will remain, the Met’s main priority and we will tackle it using all the powers and tactics available to us.
"The support of our communities is vital in combatting violent crime. Please help us to keep London safe. If you aren’t comfortable speaking directly to the police, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name or trace your call.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, from Kent Police’s Crime Investigation Department, said: ‘The sentences imposed send out an unmistakable message that there is no place for county lines drug dealing.
“These offenders were all looking to make money from people living with drug misuse and cared little about the harm they were causing to numerous communities. The length of time they will spend in prison reflects the seriousness of such offending.
“The result from this case is a testament to the close partnership work between our Medway Operation Raptor team and the Metropolitan Police.
“Our teams will continue to work alongside the Metropolitan Police to identify and proactively target those involved in county lines drug dealing.”