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21 December 2017, 17:20
An entire gang, who used violence to take over the homes of addicts across Clacton to deal drugs out of, have been sentenced to a collective total of more than 41 years.
The Jay Boys, a gang from North and East London, ran a county drugs line into Clacton supplying the Class A drugs heroin and crack cocaine over a three-year period.
At Chelmsford Crown Court today, Thursday December 21, they were sentenced by Judge Emma Peters to:
Ring-leader Courtney Kirby-Diamond, 26, of Queensbridge Road, Hackney, East London - 11 years;
Tunji Owati, 27, of Park View Road, Tottenham, North London - seven years;
Alfie Lawrence-Summers, 19, of Chatsworth Road, Hackney, East London – three years;
Baron Or, 27, of Broad Lane, Tottenham, North London - five years;
Troy Henderson-Ryan, 20, of Holland Road, Clacton – three years and three months;
Steven Root, 45, of Hadleigh Road, Clacton – two years and six months;
Tommy Burnett, 21 of Trinity Close, Leytonstone, East London - three years and six months;
Shaheur Rahman, 24, of Bentham Road, Hackney, East London - five years and ten months.
All of the gang were found guilty by a jury of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs on Monday November 27, except for Rahman, who admitted the charges at an earlier hearing.
During the trial, the court heard how the gang came to the attention of Essex Police in 2014 following a series of violent crimes in the Clacton area, including the robbery of a number of rival drug dealers.
The Jay Boys – which included a member of the Hackney-based Kingshold Boys gang – targeted the homes of vulnerable addicts, using violence and intimidation. They took over their properties to use as a drug dealing base in a practice known as cuckooing.
Jurors were told how the gang would make an average of £2,000 to £3,000 a day supplying the class A drugs crack and heroin. They would transport the drugs into Clacton from London and then use locally based runners to sell them before the gang pocketed the money.
But they soon came to the attention of Essex Police’s North Operation Raptor team, who began a three-year investigation into the gang.
Their hard work culminated with the execution of a warrant at the home of 45-year-old Steven Root in Hadleigh Road, Clacton, on February 1, 2016.
Root, a drug addict, had offered his flat to the Jay Boys gang as a drug dealing base. Inside, officers found cash, machetes and knives.
They also found mobile phones containing a series of incriminating texts linking him to the gang and showing he was acting as a runner for them. During their investigation, the officers also seized 13 phones all used by the gang to arrange deals.
The gang members were all arrested and charged. During a lengthy and complex investigation into the Jay Boys, officers found evidence of a drug dealing conspiracy stretching back to 2014.
Phone evidence found hundreds of texts on each of the members’ phones in which they arranged drug deals, talked about the cash they had earned, warned each other about Operation Raptor after reading about the team in the local press, and chased drug debts.
Financial enquiries carried out into each member showed that between 2010 and 2017 most of the gang had no official taxable source of income.
During the trial, the jury also heard from a former member of the Jay Boys who told how he was recruited on Facebook. He told the court how he was paid £100 each day to deliver crack and heroin, despite the gang earning up to £3,000 a day.
Following the sentencing, investigating officer Pc James Pamment, of the North Operation Raptor team, said: “The severity of the sentences handed down to the Jay Boys gang reflect the seriousness with which both we and the courts treat those involved in drug and gang-related crime.
“This gang, and those like them, prey on our communities, exploiting the vulnerable and using violence to sell drugs on our streets.
“As long as criminals like the Jay Boys continue to attempt to sell drugs in Essex, we will continue to hunt them down. And, whether it takes three weeks or three years, we will leave no stone unturned to bring them to justice.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Wells, Essex Police’s lead for Operation Raptor, said: “Today’s sentencings show the reality of the gang lifestyle.
“You will be exploited. You will be the victim or perpetrator of violence. You will live life on the edge wondering whether a rival dealer or police officer will come for you first.
“Any money you make, or glamour that you think your lifestyle might have, will be short-lived and it’s only a matter of time before you end up behind bars just like the Jay Boys.
“If you are intent on coming to Essex to deal drugs, make no mistake, you can expect to meet Operation Raptor.
“If you are aware of drug dealing or gang-related crime in your community, please tell us. Your help is vital in helping us put these criminals behind bars where they belong.”