Undercover cop helps take crack dealers off the street - and Stevenage police chief warns crooks: You could be next
- Credit: Archant
Drug dealers who operated crack houses and regularly sold heroin and crack cocaine within sight of Stevenage schools are behind bars this week after being snared by an undercover cop.
In total 10 people were sentenced for distributing Class A drugs in the town after the ring was cracked by the cop, referred to in court only as Dan.
Cambridge Crown Court heard how dealers ran phone lines and used runners – many of whom had mental health issues and addiction problems, and were forced into the trade – to distribute their wares.
There were five phone lines, each one run by a different dealer.
Zach Eujone, 23, was involved in 11 deals with Dan, four next to schools.
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The 23-year-old of Watson Court, Stevenage, who has nine previous convictions, was given a 40-month prison sentence.
Joshua Thomas arranged nine deals and used an address in Broom Walk as a safe house where drugs could be sold and used.
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Thomas had already sold Class A drugs to an undercover police officer in 2009, receiving a 40-month prison term. On Friday he was sentenced to four years behind bars.
Bubacarr Keita was linked to four deals, using a flat in Inskip Crescent as a safe house. The 40-year-old, who has previous convictions for importing drugs, was sentenced to four years.
Domonic Adu-Mensah supplied Dan seven times, six from the home of Emma Davis, 42, in Shephall Green. The 24-year-old, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced to 40 months.
Summing up, the judge said: “It is clear there was a great deal of dealing of drugs going on in Stevenage in close proximity to schools and public places.
“You were supplying other people at the same time and you will be sentenced not just for supplying drugs to an undercover police officer but also for supplying others.
“Drug dealing has a negative impact on the community whether through the people who sell them in full view of schools or the associated crime that addicts commit to pay for their habits.
“For your guilty pleas you will have 33 per cent taken off your sentence and released after half of your sentence to serve the rest on licence.”
As well as the ringleaders put behind bars, the judge handed down a string of other sentences including suspended jail terms, drug treatment, rehabilitation orders and curfews after hearing that defendants played only a minor role in the operation, were forced to take part usually to feed their own habit, and had the potential to be rehabilitated.
Chief Insp Richard Harbon, who heads the police team in Stevenage, said: “This operation was part of our ongoing work to tackle drug- related crime. I hope it sends out a clear message that this kind of activity will not be tolerated. We will actively pursue people who deal drugs in our community.
“Drug offences are often closely linked to other types of acquisitive crime such as burglary, robbery and motor vehicle theft.
“I hope we have reassured local residents that we are listening to their concerns and we will act on information they provide. We will continue to pursue leads and act on intelligence. If you are engaged in the supply of drugs, you could be next.”