11 people arrested in connection with County Lines drug dealing in Suffolk

Suffolk Constabulary have made 11 arrests over the past 10 months as part of a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police targeting the controllers of County Lines.

Since February 2020 Operation Orochi, led by the Met Police, has been in place in Suffolk and a large number of key investigations are underway as a result. The aim is to shut down at source drug dealers that operate between Suffolk and London.

Operation Orochi, led by the Metropolitan Police, has been in place in Suffolk since February 2020. It focuses on tackling drugs supply offences and County Lines by arresting the line controller, rather than the person transporting the drugs. Officers from the Serious Crime Disruption Team (SCDT) in Suffolk will share intelligence with a dedicated team at the Met, who will then investigate in order to identify the line controller and their location.

The SCDT disrupt serious and organised gangs whose criminal activity focuses on issues such as drug supply and investigate serious and organised criminality with a ‘cradle to grave’ approach. The team develop the relevant information and intelligence, conduct enforcement activity and then build the case to see the investigation through to conviction.

In August last year, two males were both jailed for six years each after they were convicted of running a County Lines operation to Haverhill. Christopher Prosser, aged 23 and 26-year-old Maverick Dwyer both of Alder Walk, Ilford were jailed after admitting to supplying crack cocaine and heroin to drug users in Haverhill. The initial arrests were made by the Met in Kent and Ilford.

Elsewhere, in August last year Met officers arrested a 21-year-old man from Dagenham who was subsequently charged by Suffolk police for drug offences.  Ronnie Downes of Winterbourne Road, Dagenham was found guilty after a five day trial for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs in the Ipswich area and is due to be sentenced in March.

In September, a 20-year-old male was arrested in Croydon. Joshua Campos of Ashley Road in Thornton Heath in London was charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs in Bury St Edmunds. He was remanded in custody and awaits a trial.

Also in September a male was arrested in London and charged after suspected links to a Sudbury drug dealing line, while in October, a 27-year-old male was arrested and charged in connection with drug dealing offences connected to Haverhill.

In November last year officers arrested a male in east London who was bought back to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning. Officers secured charges against Galid Hassan, aged 23 and of Cricklewood Lane in London of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs in the Ipswich area and he was remanded in custody, awaiting trial.

In December last year, a 20-year-old man was arrested in Enfield. Teric Aroriode-Francis of Turners Hill, Waltham Cross was subsequently charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs – crack cocaine and heroin – and he was remanded in custody and awaits trial that is scheduled for July 2021 at Ipswich Crown Court.

The same month officers arrested a man in Cheshunt in connection with drug offences linked to Ipswich. 29-year-old Adam Kasule Sydney Road, Hornsey was charged with concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. On 20 January 2021, Kasule pleaded guilty to all counts and now awaits sentencing in April.

In January this year, officers arrested a 27-year-old man in West Hampstead. Zac Patterson of Iverson Road in London and was charged with being concerned in the supply of class A drugs offences in Bury St Edmunds and awaits trial in July.

In late January a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. Junior Elegbede of Town Road in London was subsequently charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. He pleaded guilty to all counts and was remanded in custody to await sentencing.

In mid- February officers arrested a 28-year-old male in the Chadwell Heath area of East London on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. Akim Rowe of Cavendish Gardens, Romford was charged with being concerned in the supply of Class A (heroin and crack cocaine) drugs and for failing to stop for police, relating to a separate incident on 6 October in Ipswich.

Head of Crime, Safeguarding & Incident Management Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger said: “Op Orochi is a great example of collaborative working with the Met police to bring these ruthless, violent drug dealers to justice. These carefully planned operations have a powerful impact in terms of shutting down a significant number of County Lines at their source with immediate results.

“They prevent class A drugs from being distributed on the streets of Suffolk and whole drugs operation being dismantled also, crucially protect the young and vulnerable from being exploited by brutal and callous London based dealers to run their operation, as well as prevent those at risk from the violence associated with County Lines.

“We are able to share intelligence in real-time leading to fast-time investigations. It means that we’re in a strong position to charge and remand the controller of the drugs line on the day of arrest before they have an opportunity to pass the drugs line to an associate; effectively shutting it down.

“Our local communities have an important role to play, helping us to identify vulnerable people and provide us with intelligence and suspicious activity, so please get in touch if you suspect drug dealing in your area.

“These are some great results but we cannot rest on our laurels. The intention is to continue to work with our partners to focus on those who are most affected in our communities. The force is also continuing its work with other police forces in the east to tackle drug crime as we realise the issue is one that is cross-border and that has a wider impact that is not limited to Suffolk.”

The finance for the SCDT posts has come from funding from the policing precept rise in 2020/21 by the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner and ensures it meets the Police and Crime Plan objectives.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: “These excellent results clearly demonstrate what can be achieved by working together to arrest serious criminals and remove these individuals from our towns and villages.

“Such people do enormous harm to our communities, especially when the peddling of illegal drugs takes place, and catching them and prosecuting them is exactly what the public wants.

“Very well done to all involved and I trust when those criminals are convicted the sentences handed to them acts as a powerful deterrent to others.”