Drug dealer facing jail and deportation for role in Ipswich county line

Ipswich crown court with road sign

Adama Ballo appeared before Ipswich Crown Court on video link from Norwich prison - Credit: Archant

A 26-year-old man has been told he faces an immediate jail sentence and deportation for his part in the operation of a drug dealing line into Ipswich.

Adama Ballo appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via video link from Norwich prison on Wednesday morning.

Ballo admitted two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

The charges covered Ballo's part in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine into the Ipswich area between February 13 and June 9 this year.

He denied two further charges of possession with intent to supply cocaine and possession with intent to supply heroin – discovered upon arrest at his flat in Ripple Road, Barking, on June 9.

Prosecutor Brian Reece said the pleas had been considered and deemed acceptable.

He said the offence to which Ballo pleaded guilty embodied the evidence in the denied charges and need not be pursued. 

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Mr Reece said the Crown Prosecution Service would consider Ballo's written basis of pleas during a short two-week adjournment before sentencing.

He said the time would also allow prosecutors to use an algorithm capable of calculating the likely turnover of the county line, based on digital evidence found on Ballo's mobile phone, including incoming and outgoing text messages.

Barrister Joanne Eley said Ballo's criminal record included convictions for three similar offences.

She said the latest offences would clearly attract an immediate custody sentence and that Ballo would likely be deported as a consequence.

Ms Eley told the court: "He became involved in this drugs enterprise because he is an overstayer.

"He can't work legitimately, claim benefits or study, so this was the only way he could make money."

Under current rules, any foreign national convicted of a criminal offence attracting a sentence of more than 12 months in custody is automatically liable for deportation to their home country.

Ms Eley said Ballo had been directed to hold phones used by the county line – serving an "operational and management" function in the chain.

"He did as instructed," added Ms Eley, who said Ballo accepted he also sold drugs to friends on the side to make extra money.

Recorder William Hansen adjourned sentencing until July 22 and further remanded Ballo in custody.