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Police take down major County Lines Brighton and Hove drug gang – 6 sentenced

Sussex Police has taken down a major county-line drug dealing gang in Brighton and Hove, jailing nine people involved in a significant organised conspiracy after a two-year operation by the city’s Community Investigation Team.

At Lewes Crown Court on Friday, October 28, six people were sentenced to a total of 46 years and nine months for charges including conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

They joined three people jailed in 2020 for more than seven years for their involvement in the conspiracy.

A channel of drug supply into the city known as the HECTOR line was first identified in August 2018, when a mobile phone linked to the distribution of Class A drugs including crack cocaine and heroin was discovered.

County lines dealing is the sale of drugs from large urban areas, such as London, into smaller towns and cities such as Brighton. Dealers and customers are linked by mobile phone numbers, through which deals are conducted.

Typically the main number is controlled by a distant, senior gang member in the larger urban area, but the HECTOR line bucked that trend.

Instead, senior members operated within Sussex, giving investigators a greater opportunity to target offenders at all levels of the hierarchy.

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Seized Class A drugs, in the gang’s distinctive blue and red wraps. Credit – Sussex Police

As is common practice for county lines dealing, the group targeted young and vulnerable individuals through violence, exploitation and intimidation, employing them to carry out street dealing on their behalf while higher-level leaders maintained control of the money.

Over the course of two years of covert and overt operations, surveillance, intelligence gathering and enforcement, dozens of people were arrested and huge amounts of drugs were seized as officers from the Community Investigations Team (CIT) partnered with the Metropolitan Police to disrupt the gang’s activity.

The investigation found the HECTOR line changed phone numbers four times over four years. These numbers were found on the mobile phones of five people who died in drug-related circumstances between 2018 and 2020.

Alongside that work, a case was built to charge a large number of senior, mid and street-level members with being part of a conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Being part of a conspiracy shows an organised, determined commitment to the illegal drug trade that goes beyond the charge of possession with the intent to supply.

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List of defendants, charges and sentences:

Ahmed Issa, 27, of Plashet Road in Plaistow, London, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to nine years in prison.

Abdulqafar Farah, 26, of Old Montague Street, Tower Hamlets, London, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to eight years in prison.

Abdijabar Ahmad, 23, of Roman Road, Tower Hamlets, London, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

Anice Ali Nur, 21, of Gaverick Mews, Tower Hamlets, London, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to four years and six months in prison.

Mustafa Ahmed, 25, of no fixed address, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to ten years in prison.

Tamer Elsherif, 50, of Cottenham Road in Worthing, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to ten years in prison.

Hamse Musa, 26, of Purdy Street, Tower Hamlets, London, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to three years in prison on February 10, 2020. Assets were also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Hussen Dualeh, 30, of Mayflower Road, Billericay, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Sentenced to three years and four months in prison on February 10, 2020. Assets were also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Kieran Rice, 19, of Melbury Avenue, Southall, charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and racially aggravated public order. Sentenced to eight years in a young offenders’ institute.

Detective Inspector Dee Wells, of Brighton and Hove’s Community Investigations Team, said: “This was a long, complex investigation into an organised crime gang responsible for spreading untold devastation among our communities… The supply of illegal drugs is hugely destructive, going hand in hand with violence and exploitation, and underpinning all manner of wider criminality. As harmful substances, they also decimate the lives of their users.”

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