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​Grime artist and associates sentenced to a total of over 43-years

News   •   Sep 13, 2019 17:42 BST

[Image: Top from Left - Allen and Kwateng: Bottom from Left - Corbett, Faponle and Nimoh]

A grime artist and his associates have been sentenced to a total of over 43-years at Blackfriars Crown Court for running a county lines route.

Today, Friday 13th September, [A] Asfa Allen, 32 (02.10.86) of Pegasus Way, Gillingham, Kent (who also goes by the Grime artist name ‘ASCO’) was sentenced to 12-years and six months in jail for leading a county lines route from east London.

[C] Akwasi Kwateng, 24 (24.06.95) of Lindisfarne Way, E9, was sentenced to seven-years.

[D] Donovan Corbett, 22 (20.03.97) of Lockgate Close, Hackney, E9, was sentenced to nine-years.

[E] Bradley Faponle, 33 (19.05.86) of Great Galley Close, Barking, was sentenced to nine-years nine-months.

[F] Denzel Nimoh, 20 (16.06.99) from Coventry, was sentenced to five-years and seven months.

[B], [D], [E] and [F] all pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs via a county lines network at an earlier date. [A] and [C] were found guilty following an eight-week trial at Blackfriars Crown Court, on Tuesday, 30 July.

All six were convicted under Operation Halmist – a proactive operation established by the Met's Specialist Crime North, formerly named Trident Central Gangs Unit.

Detective Sergeant Gary Clarke, from the Met’s Specialist Crime North who led the investigation, said: “This was a long and thorough investigation carried out by my dedicated team who worked tirelessly to collate evidence that would remove these individuals from our streets and shut down a county lines route.

“These prolific drug dealers targeted vulnerable people and managed multiple drug lines for the sole purpose of financial gain.

“Allen, who also went by the stage name ‘ASCO’ had landed a successful and lucrative recording contract with a major label where he could have left his life of crime and violence behind, however he could not release his grip on running a county lines route and will now be spending time behind bars instead of working on his music.”

Op Halmist’s objective was to disrupt organised Class A drug distribution routes into county forces, focusing in east London.

As part of the intelligence collated during the operation, it was established that [A] had been the organiser for at least four county lines routes out of London into the home counties using lower-level gang members to facilitate his supply chains starting from Hackney.

During the trial, the court and jury heard that in the early hours of 12 December 2017, following months of investigations, officers executed 15 warrants across London and the home counties, which resulted in £25,000 in cash and approximately half a kilogram of heroin being seized.

The Trident Central Gangs Unit were supported throughout the investigation by colleagues from the other Trident units, Hackney Gangs Unit, Territorial Support Group (TSG) and the Financial Investigation Unit.

Detective Inspector Dave Williams, from Specialist Crime North said: “Drug dealing is inextricably linked to the violence we have seen across the Capital.

“This result is a culmination of months of hard work and dedication from colleagues who remain focused on tackling drug dealing and violence in London."

“I hope today’s conviction reassures communities that we do take action and highlights our ongoing commitment to bearing down on county lines criminality.”

+ [B] Kai Lye, 28 (07.12.90) of Barlow House, Provost Estate, Hackney N17 will be sentenced at a later date.