Man sentenced for county lines drug offences
A man has been jailed after an investigation found he was running a phone line to distribute Class A drugs between London and Kent.
Following a joint investigation between the Metropolitan Police Service and Kent Police, Enoch Odubanjo, 22, (01.01.99), of Egmont Street, Lewisham, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, 10 September to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to wear an electronic tag for six months.
He was found guilty at the same court on Friday, 25 June of two counts of offering to supply a controlled Class A drug between September 2019 and March 2020.
The court heard that Odubanjo ran a county line called the ‘Fiver’ line, which was a phone number offering the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in the Chatham area. Upon his arrest in March 2020 he was also found in possession of a second drugs line number.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where criminals use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas across the whole country.
In late 2019, acting on intelligence and communications data provided by Kent Police, the Met began an investigation into the ‘Fiver’ line. The line was suspected to be commonly controlled from south London.
Bulk text messages were often sent out from the phone, with a message sent on 8 November 2019 reading: “Best of both back on 4 for 20. Fiver.” ‘Both’ refers to crack cocaine and heroin for sale.
Odubanjo was arrested by Kent Police on 3 December 2019 after he was pursued on foot following reports of a fight at a nearby pizza takeaway in Chatham.
He gave a false name to police and was found to be in possession of £405 in cash and eight wraps of heroin.
He was arrested on suspicion of affray and possession of a Class A drug and was subsequently released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Officers noticed that the ‘Fiver’ line stopped being used after Odubanjo’s arrest. On the morning of his arrest, a bulk broadcasting message had gone out from the phone. Between 20 September 2019 and 3 December 2019 some 17,447 messages were sent to and from the phone.
He was not in possession of the phone or SIM card at the time of his arrest. However, cell phone analysis showed that the phone was in the vicinity of Odubanjo’s aunt’s house in Chatham at the time, with outgoing calls and messages stopping following his arrest. The court heard Odubanjo possibly discarded the phone when he was chased by officers.
The phone received incoming calls until 15 December 2019, with purchasers not realising the number was inoperative. The phone went off later that day.
The investigation continued into early 2020 and officers were able to establish that the ‘Fiver’ line frequented the vicinity of a number of addresses in south London and one address in Chatham all associated with Odubanjo – further corroborating he was the line-holder. The ‘Fiver’ line also had regular communication with his mother and partner.
Odubanjo was circulated as ‘wanted’ for drugs supply. He was stopped in Chatham on 9 March 2020 after officers witnessed what they believed to be a drug deal. He was found in possession of two £10 notes and a ‘burner’ phone.
He again gave officers a fake name and told them he did not know the PIN to access the phone nor did he know the number as it had been ‘given to him by a friend’. The phone was seized and was found to contain two SIM cards. Officers eventually gained access to the phone after the PIN was discovered.
Officers soon learnt his real name and discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest. He was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs.
Analysis of the phone and SIM card showed several bulk text messages had been sent out, with many referring to ‘the best of both’ ‘being on 24/7.’
During his police interview he gave a combination of ‘no comment’ answers as well as replies denying any wrongdoing. He said he did not know what the ‘Fiver’ drug line was and that he had no involvement in supplying crack cocaine and heroin. He did admit to giving false details to police.
He was charged on 10 March 2020 and was convicted as above.
Detective Constable John Davis, the investigating officer from the South East Basic Command Unit (Greenwich, Lewisham, Bexley), said: “Thanks to great partnership working with Kent Police, we were able to gather overwhelming evidence against Odubanjo being the line-runner for the ‘Fiver’ line, which the jury agreed with – despite Odubanjo’s denial of any wrongdoing. He tried his best to evade capture, providing false names and denying ownership of mobile phones, but it was not enough to fool us.
“Our enquiries showed he sent thousands of text messages to drug users over the course of six months and supplied them with a huge quantity of class A drugs. Drugs devastate communities and destroy lives, but Odubanjo did not care about this as long as he was making money.
“The public may believe that county lines does not have a wider impact on communities, but the consequences of this type of criminality should not be underestimated.
“For example, we see a significant amount of violence linked to county lines. That’s why disrupting the supply of drugs continues to form a central part of our work to tackle violence.
“However, we also need you to help us keep our communities safe and I would implore you to contact us, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, with any information you have regarding drug dealing or violent crime in your area.”
Detective Sergeant Andy Leventis, from Kent Police’s County Lines and Gang Team, said: “Kent Police works in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service to target drug dealing and our combined expertise regularly achieves robust results against those who seek to supply illegal substances on our streets.
“Odubanjo played a significant role in supplying Class A drugs across the Medway towns.
“We’re going to continue working closely with the Met and anyone with similar ambitions can expect to be targeted and held to account.”
Anyone with information on drug dealing in the area should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.