A group of drug dealers has been jailed for more than 16 years for bringing “large quantities” of heroin and crack cocaine to Brighton from south east London.
The drugs gang members were sentenced by Judge Paul Tain at Lewes Crown Court after Sussex Police closed another “county line”.
The term is used to describe the phone set up used for supplying drugs to places like Brighton and Hove from big cities like London, Liverpool and Manchester.
Six of the eight defendants were sent to prison after detectives targeted the “Zak” line which was run from Bromley, in south east London.
The longest sentwas handed to 22-year-old Tamarapreye Soroh, also known as Preye Soroh, of Queen Anne Avenue, Bromley.
Soroh held and managed the drug line phone from his home in Bromley as well as visiting Brighton to deal in person on certain days. He was jailed for five years and four months.
When Soroh was arrested, he tried to destroy the “Zak” dealing phone but failed.
The court was told that he had no previous convictions for drugs supply but that he recruited and instructed a number of young street runners.
Soroh sent mostly 16 and 17-year-olds to and from Brighton to do his dirty work as runners, bringing drugs from Lewisham to Brighton.
The gang used the home of a “cuckoo”, David Harris, in Merevale, Hollingdean, as a cuckoo’s nest.
Harris, 35, was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, for allowing his home to be used as their local base for drug dealing.
The pair were among 80 people arrested during a six-month long operation carried out by detectives from the Brighton and Hove Community Investigation Team.
They brought Soroh and his gang to court using evidence gathered from July 2016 to February 2017 as part of an investigation codenamed Operation Glenlivet.
Soroh’s lieutenant, Kieren Sakhabuth, 21, of Elmcourt Road, south east London, was clearly linked to the Zak line, the court was told.
After the sentencing last Friday (6 July) Detective Inspector Dee Wells, of the Brighton and Hove Community Investigations Team, said: “Our investigation found significant text messages corroborating his role.
“Messages between him (Soroh) and co-defendant Kieren Sakhabuth showed Sakhabuth as reporting to Soroh on many drug deals that were happening, what he had left in stock and how much money he had collected.
“Early in the investigation, a drugs warrant was executed at an address in Brighton. Cash and drugs were seized to the value of around £3,000 and the occupant was Kieren Sakhabuth.
“He was employed as a ‘street runner’ in the city and his phone showed that there was more than just one street runner working for the Zak line in the city at any one time.
“Sabkhabuth had no previous convictions and his defence argued that he was trying to pay off his student loans and cannabis debt.
“Judge Paul Tain reminded him that lots of students have loans but do not resort to dealing heroin and crack and sentenced him to three years in prison.”
Judge Tain also sentenced five other runners
- Sade Woolnough, 19, of Bideford Road, Bromley, was 17 when she dealt to undercover officers. She was jailed for 18 months.
- Chakotai Saunders, 21, of Boundfield Road, Lewisham, was jailed for three years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
- Linsey Lumunye, 22, of St James Close, Carshalton, was given two years and two months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
- Jerome Johns, 21, of Kelling Gardens, Croydon, was given 18 months, also for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
- Desharn Flynn-Koromo, 18, of Moremead Road, south east London, was 17 when he dealt for the Zak line on one occasion in Brighton. Although he is now 18, he was given a youth rehabilitation order.
Detective Inspector Wells added: “The sentencing of this group brings the prison sentences to 132 years for this operation.
“We are dedicated to tackling the supply of drugs in this city and the firm sentences handed out by Judge Tain should be heeded.
“We continue to work with partners in the local authority and voluntary agencies and will relentlessly pursue the peddlers of drugs.”
The Zak line defendants were just one group being investigated as part of Op Glenlivet.