Fight in court at drugs case

A FIGHT broke out in an Ipswich courtroom as drug dealers waited to learn they would lose more than £10,000 worth of criminal property between them, it emerged today.

A FIGHT broke out in an Ipswich courtroom as drug dealers waited to learn they would lose more than £10,000 worth of criminal property between them, it emerged today.

Security guards had to be called to courtroom four in Ipswich Crown Court after six jailed criminals tussled in the dock before the start of their hearing.

The men had all been part of the T-Business gang, supplying heroin and crack cocaine to addicts in Ipswich, which was infiltrated by an in-depth police investigation, Operation Wolf.

Ten of the men involved appeared back in Ipswich Crown Court for an application to seize their ill-gained assets, and to sentence three of them for their roles in the plot.

During the first hearing Marcus Linton, Johnny Callie, Paul Minto, Martin Abdallah, Michael Blake and Clement Morgan were in the dock at the back of the court when one of the men threw a punch and others started shouting.

Guards were called and some of the men had to be restrained until calm was finally restored and judge David Goodin entered the courtroom.

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All the men, along with Jermaine Blake, Robert Amponsah, Daniel Toussaint and Andre Smith, had admitted their part in a conspiracy to supply class A drugs, apart from the co-ordinator of the group, Callie, who was convicted by a jury of the same offence.

Linton, Callie, Minto, Abdallah, Michael Blake, Jermaine Blake and Morgan had already been jailed for more than 30 years between them and on Thursday judge Goodin confiscated a total of £11,485.31 from them, Amponsah, Toussaint, and Smith.

He also gave Amponsah a given a three-and-a-half-year sentence for his part in the conspiracy and similar offences in Kingston, while Smith was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a 26-week curfew between 7pm and 6am.

Toussaint was told he would be sentenced on February 1.

Amount confiscated from each criminal

Marcus Linton, 29, of Bentham Walk, Brent -£773.94

Jermaine Blake, 21, of Brent -£3908.94

Michael Blake, 28, of Belvedere Way, Harlesden - £788.94

Martin Abdallah, 21, of Alric Avenue, Harlesden - £798.94

Robert Amponsah, 19, of Alric Avenue, Harlesden - £1178.94

Johnny Callie, 57, of Peterhouse Close, Chantry, Ipswich - £773.94

Paul Minto, 19, of Recton Road, London - £773.94

Clement Morgan, 38, of Chapter Road, Willesden - £828.94

Andre Smith, 19, of Crawford Avenue, Wembley - £773.94

Daniel Toussaint, 25, of Llanover Road, Wembley - £884.85

Operation Wolf

During the hearing judge David Goodin praised all the police officers involved with Operation Wolf.

The investigation foiled a gang known as T-Business which used rented addresses in Colchester as part of a complex operation which involved addicts calling a mobile phone number which was widely distributed among the Ipswich's hard drug users.

It is thought the drugs were sourced in London, stored and packaged in Colchester and sold in Ipswich.

The T-Business was smashed by detectives from Suffolk, Essex and London in a meticulously planned operation involving undercover officers.

Three undercover officers, known as John, Martin, and Roxie, called the T-Phone number and met with members of the gang on more than 40 occasions between April and August 2005.

After meeting with dealers who arrived on foot or bike, they were able to purchase heroin and crack cocaine.

In August 2005 premises at George Williams Way, Colchester, Wallace Road, Colchester, Peterhouse Close, Ipswich, Wherstead Road, Ipswich, Watsham Place, Wivenhoe, and Brentham Walk, London, were all raided.

In the course of these raids drugs, paraphernalia and cash were seized, including one haul of crack cocaine and heroin valued at £50,000.

Judge Goodin said: “This was a complex, successful, demanding and courageous investigation.

“It led to the rolling up, to the end of a major drugs supply network.”