County lines trio jailed for dealing crack and heroin in Ipswich and Clacton
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary
Three street dealers have been jailed for their part in a county lines drug supply operation.
The trio were caught using the same hire car to deal crack and heroin twice in a week.
Rhyone Hinkson, 23, Mohamed Abdullahi, 20, and Michael Martin, 18, were found, apparently sleeping in a red Mercedes, parked with its lights off and engine running in Macaulay Road, Ipswich, on January 15.
Police found 32 wraps of crack cocaine, 22 wraps of heroin, and a kitchen knife under the front passenger seat.
Prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday, Peter Gair said: "After being released under investigation, they appeared to have kept the same car and reloaded with drugs, moving to Clacton, where the vehicle was seen in the NCP car park in Jackson Road on January 22.
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"It was kept under observation until the defendants approached."
Hinkson complied when police swooped, but Abdullahi and Martin fled before being tackled.
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Hinkson, who had discarded two bags containing 25.4g of crack and 13.6g of heroin, was also found with £1,120 in cash and a phone full of incriminating texts.
Traces of crack and heroin were later found in a nearby hotel room occupied by the trio.
Mr Gair said: "They were clearly part of an organisation linked to a county line."
In mitigation, barristers for the defendants said all were remorseful and under pressure from suppliers to make up for the loss of drugs incurred following their first arrests.
Martin, of Blacksmith Close, Romford, admitted possession with intent to supply class A drugs and knife possession at his first appearance in magistrates' court, while Hinkson, of Mansfield Road, Ilford, and Abdullahi, of Ilford Lane, Ilford, entered guilty pleas to possession with intent to supply at their first crown court hearings.
Judge Rupert Overbury found no evidence to suggest the three were pressured to recoup losses.
"The only logical explanation is that you, as a drug-dealing team, decided to carry on where you left off," he added.
"Plainly, you were all in this for financial advantage. This is a classic county lines operation, where the three of you travelled from London to set up shop."
Hinkson and Abdullahi were jailed for four years and nine months, while Martin received a jail term of five years.
Across the region, as part of an operation over the two days in January, more than 1,000 wraps of class A drugs were seized, along with amounts of cannabis, a number of knives and imitation firearms, and about £20,000 in cash.
Detective Inspector Mark Pollikett, from the Serious Crime Disruption Team, said: "The arrests and charges were the outcome of many weeks of carefully coordinated planning and much groundwork, which have reaped results.
"During their respective interviews, while in custody, the three of them responded 'no comment' and were all unable to adequately explain or justify their connection to the offences for which they were arrested.
"These convictions are a great result - they demonstrate how the scourge of county line drug operations reach across borders and how, by cross agency working, we can achieve some great results to keep communities safe.
"The SCDT team demonstrates how Suffolk Constabulary is committed to maintain proactive policing - they use appropriate policing tactics to target those individuals who cause the most harm to communities, such as drug related crime. Their specialist skills proactively tackle force-wide and local policing priorities, while responding to the needs of local people."