Drug dealer jailed for six years

A DRUG dealer who led a life of luxury on Ipswich's Waterfront is beginning a lengthy prison term today after he and his money-laundering accomplice were jailed.

A DRUG dealer who led a life of luxury on Ipswich's Waterfront is beginning a lengthy prison term today after he and his money-laundering accomplice were jailed.

Delroy Barnes lived a life of fast cars and high-value goods from his flat in Bath Street as he dealt class A drugs to other dealers in Ipswich.

But his criminal life caught up with him when police and financial investigators began to investigate him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Now the 28-year-old is starting a six-year jail term and his associate Leon Graham has been put behind bars for three years.

Under an operation codenamed Wagtail, which began in November 2005, Suffolk police's Ipswich drugs team and the force's financial investigation unit began to probe Barnes' earnings. They also looked into the bank accounts of Graham, who also went by the name Webber.

Barnes, who moved to Ipswich from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was claiming to be making a living as a hairdresser, cutting the hair of friends in London. He had an Audi TT sports car and his Bath Street apartment was furnished with what police described as high-value and high-quality items.

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Graham, from Barking, Essex, was the registered owner of the TT. When police looked at his bank accounts they found payments totalling £20,000 which they suspected to have been “dirty money” which was earned by others through drug dealing.

While the pair were under investigation, Barnes was seen to enter the grounds of St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich on October 18 last year where he met two men.

An exchange of drugs took place and when officers stopped Barnes, who was driving a high-performance Volkswagen Golf R32 car, in Bixley Road they found £485 cash on him.

When police stopped the two men he met, one of them was found to be in possession of seven grams of heroin and 6.62 grams of crack cocaine packed in a condom. The drugs had a combined street value of £800.

Both later pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and were given non-custodial sentences.

When Barnes and Graham went on trial at Ipswich Crown Court earlier this year, a jury found Barnes guilty of two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, one count of conspiring to transfer criminal property and a further count of converting criminal property.

Graham was found guilty of two counts of conspiring to transfer criminal property.

Their convictions are the latest success in Suffolk police's blitz on the drug trade in Ipswich. The force's Operation Academy, which was launched in January this year in a bid to drive out dealers from London and other large cities, has led to about 200 arrests and a string of convictions.

WHEN Delroy Barnes and Leon Graham appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing, Judge Peter Thompson described drug dealing was a “pernicious business”.

Mitigating for Barnes, Anna Morris asked the judge to impose as lenient a sentence as possible because he had a six-year-old son.

She said: “I ask you to consider the personal mitigation - his family and his young child.

“Custody had an impact on him previously and the situation he finds himself in now causes him concern with regard to the family life he now enjoys.”

During Monday's hearing, the court heard that Barnes had a previous conviction in April 2002 when he was jailed for five years for possession with intent to supply cocaine.

In sentencing him to three years for supplying Class A drugs and three years for the offences of conspiring to transfer criminal property and converting criminal property, Judge Thompson told him: “As you know drug dealing is a pernicious business. Large amounts of cash are siphoned from addicts in exchange for heroin and cocaine.

“It looks to me not long after your release (from prison) you were engaged in criminal activity.

“You're 28 years old. You know that supplying heroin and cocaine is a serious matter and I can't overlook your past history.”

Barnes was given credit for 339 days which he has spent on remand awaiting trial and sentence.

Mitigating for Graham, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years in May 2003 for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin, Jonathan Anders said his client had no direct involvement in the supply of drugs.

He said: “I ask you to look at this as an isolated matter and a confined one.

“The involvement in the larger criminal enterprise was confined.

“I would ask you to be as lenient as you can in the circumstances.”

In jailing Graham, Judge Thompson said: “The jury didn't accept your explanation that these movements of money were legitimate ones.”