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23 January 2018, 12:20 | Updated: 23 January 2018, 12:25
A drug gang who dealt more than £250,000 worth of Class A drugs to users in Ipswich using a so-called 'county line' have been jailed at Wood Green Crown Court yesterday, Monday, 22 January for a total of 25 years.
Following a three-week trial Jerome Daley, 30 (29.08.1987) of Tomswood Hill, Ilford and Kristian Pullen, 39 (17.09.1978) of Willoughby Road, Ipswich were convicted of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between May 2016 and May 2017.
Daley was sentenced to 11 years and six months imprisonment, and Pullen was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also placed on a curfew for four months.
Paul Butters, 33 (19.01.1985) of Ranelagh Road, Ipswich pleaded guilty on 27 July to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between May 2016 and May 2017. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years, and 150 hours of unpaid work.
Kyron Nestor-Thelwell, 23 (06.09.1994) of Durrington Road, Hackney and Andy Mokonzele, 32 (08.08.1985) of Cambridge Crescent, High Wycombe pleaded guilty to the same charges at an earlier hearing. Thelwell was sentenced to six years imprisonment, plus an additional 10 months for activating a previous suspended sentence to be served consecutively. Mokonzele was sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment.
Officers from the Met's Trident and Area Crime Command, in conjunction with colleagues from Suffolk Police, carried out an intelligence-led investigation which revealed that Daley controlled a network supplying heroin and crack cocaine to drug users in Ipswich.
Detectives discovered that Daley, described as the kingpin of the gang, ran a phone line which he used to text drug users in Ipswich informing them when he had drugs for sale. Users would then call or text the line to place their 'orders' and, using the same line, Daley would contact his drug runners including Butters, Mokonzele and Pullen to give them details of the delivery.
Thelwell, a close associate of Daley, would travel from London to Ipswich several times a week to restock the runners and collect money made from the deals.
This conspiracy set up is that of a so-called 'county line' where drug runners are locals who are exploited to run and deliver drugs, and in turn are paid in drugs to supply their own habit.
Throughout the course of the year-long investigation approximately 150 individual wraps of cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of £1600 and a total of £2600 in cash was seized.
It is estimated the drug gang made the journey to Ipswich on at least 170 separate occasions, and made a total of approximately £273,000 in the space of 12 months.
Detective Inspector Glenn Butler from the Met's Trident and Area Crime Command, said: "This was an extensive proactive operation between the Met and our colleagues at Suffolk Police which has led to the successful prosecution of six members of this network. I hope this result sends a clear message that we will continue to pursue gangs in this way, wherever in the UK they are operating. The harm that drugs cause communities across the UK will not be tolerated."
Superintendent Kerry Cutler from Suffolk Police said: "Suffolk Constabulary continues to work with the Metropolitan Police to disrupt and hold to account individuals involved in the organisation and supply of drugs. The convictions show how police forces working together can make a difference."
Detective Superintendent Tim Champion of the Met's Trident and Area Crime Command, said: "County lines is a national challenge for police forces and our partner agencies. We are working hard with partners throughout the country to disrupt supply networks and safeguard vulnerable people affected by them. The impact drug supply has on communities is immense and our work to disrupt this criminality continues apace, using all the legislation available to us."