Nine people who admitted being part of a County Lines Class A drugs conspiracy in Basingstoke, have been sentenced to a total of 46 years and seven months in prison.
The eight men and one woman were part of a cartel of four drug networks known as the Monster, Bestie, Nemo and Smallz lines that operated in the town between December 2018 and October 2019.
Prosecutor Mark Ruffell told Portsmouth Crown Court all the networks shared the same drugs suppliers in Wembley, North London, as well as key players, safe houses and local runners.
They worked together to prevent tensions breaking out between the networks but also to protect themselves against rival gangs operating on the same patch.
Two men, Ahmed Abdullah and Antonio Abayomi were, along with others, said to be the organisers behind these networks. The Crown said the pair worked together to ensure there was a 24/7 supply of heroin and crack cocaine constantly available in Basingstoke.
Ahmed Abdullah, 32, from Manor Road, Luton, was described as the ‘Operator’ of the Monster network from December 2018.
Abdullah, who told the HMRC he was a self employed plumber but never registered any tax returns, ran a network of lieutenants and runners for Monster.
He was sentenced to nine years and six months after admitting two counts of conspiring to supply Class A drugs.
Sentencing Abdullah, His Honour Judge Melville QC said: “You organised and managed your underlings with ruthless efficiency …and had cruelty in imposing your authority.”
Antonio Abayomi, 22, Neville Road, Brent, is said to have run the Bestie drug line in Basingstoke from at least November 2018 to December 2019. He recruited at least two 16 year old boys to run and deal drugs for him, the Crown alleged.
Abayoumi was sentenced to seven years and six months after admitting four counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
Charlene Hougham, 32, of Abbey Road, Popley, was described as a Class A drugs user and it was said she played a ‘significant’ role.
From at least December 2018 to March 2029, she worked closely with Adbullah, travelling and staying overnight with him at various locations, including trips to Wembley to purchase drugs.
On March 7, 2019, she was found with 102 x £29 wraps of Class A drugs on her, totalling £2,040.
She admitted four counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to five years and five months in custody.
Andrew Russell, 27, of First Drive, Stonebridge, London, is said to have played a significant role. He was said to have been recruited by Abdullah – delivering and dealing drugs in Basingstoke from January 2019 to February 2019.
Russell admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs,. He was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison.
Adam Harman, 27, of Worting Road, Basingtoke, actively assisted the drugs lines by hiring cars for Abdullah, driving him and others around. He also allowed his home at the time in Normanton Road to be used as a base for the network as well as running drugs around Basingstoke.
Harman admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely heroin and cocaine. He was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison.
Devon Codrington, 19, of Lock Place, Reading, became involved in dealing drugs for Monster from early April 20190 to mid-May 2019. He was described by the Crown as ‘a lieutenant on the ground’.
He admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Louis Craze, 23, from Bishop Fox Way, West Molesey, was said to have dealt drugs for the Nemo and then the Monster drugs line.
Craze admitted four counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, and was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison.
Karl Boness, 32, of no fixed abode, acted as a runner for the Monster line. He admitted two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to two years and two months in prison.
Anthony Nish, 52, of Falkland Road, Popley, played a significant role in that he drove key members of the networks around between London, Luton, Reading and Basingstoke to pick up and deal drugs using his own cars and hiring vehicles. He also received cash deposits to pay for hire cars and was said to have been involved in dealing drugs himself.
Nish admitted six offences of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was sentenced to three years and six months.
Abdullah, Abayomi, Codrington and Russell have also been placed under a Serious Crime Prevention Order. This will begin on their release from prison and will last for five years.
Three other women are due to be sentenced on January 20, 2021. They are:
Stacey Knock, 29, of Worting Road, Basingstoke, is Harman’s partner. The couple worked closely to assist the cartel in hiring cars and driving key members around.
Kelly Tomkins, 43, of Oakridge Road, Basingstoke, considered herself ‘a close and trusted friend’ to Abdullah. She was described as the Monster Network’s ‘Banker’ and there was evidence of her transferring money to and from her bank account totalling nearly £18,5000.
Both Knock and Tomkins have pleaded guilty to transferring criminal property, namely cash, between November 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019.
Tyne Tara Cox, 27, of Mauritius Close, Popley, was one of the main dealers for the Monster line, alongside Charlene Hougham. Abdullah described the pair of them as his ‘crew’.
Cox has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely heroin and cocaine.
A fourth woman is also due to be sentenced next year, on a date to be fixed.
Becky Knott, 27, formerly of Normanton Road, Oakridge, allowed members of the Monster network to stay at her property and acted as a courier for Abdullah on at least one occasion.
She has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Basingstoke’s District Commander, Chief Inspector Karen McManus said: “This case – involving four local networks working in synch with one another – demonstrates the complexity of how these criminals operated in their murky world of Class A drugs supply.
“But these sentences also show how there is a high price to pay for inflicting harm and misery on vulnerable people and our communities.
“Those who seek to make money out of plying such an evil trade need to look over their shoulders at all times because we are coming after you too. We will do everything in our power to stop our town being targeted by violent drugs networks.
“This investigation required painstaking work and tenacity. Thanks to the determination and professionalism of our officers, staff and the legal team, this dangerous cartel has now been completely dismantled.
“With the community supporting us and being our eyes and ears on the ground, we were able to get some very dangerous people off our streets.
“We can’t tackle this problem alone but with the help of our communities, we can take action against those intent on breaking the law.
“If you have any concerns about drug-related activity in your area, you can report it online via www.hampshire.police.uk or by calling us on 101.
“You can also report anonymously by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org or calling 0800 555 111.”
Mary-Ruth Johnson, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, added: “This was a complex case involving organised crime group networks bringing heroin and crack cocaine onto the streets of Basingstoke.
“CPS Wessex worked closely with Hampshire Constabulary to analyse many thousands of pages of detailed mobile phone evidence which was crucial to the success of this prosecution.
“CPS Wessex is committed to prosecuting county lines drug dealers for their crimes, which often involve the exploitation of children and young people.”