London man sentenced to eight years in prison for running drugs network in Portsmouth
Main article content
A London man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for supplying Class A drugs in Portsmouth as part of a police operation tackling County Lines drug dealing networks.
Adrian Thompson, 35, of Little Dimocks, Balham, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Monday (21 February), having previously been charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin, being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, acquiring/possessing criminal property and possession of cannabis.
This investigation was conducted by Hampshire Constabulary’s Eastern Proactive Investigation team and was undertaken jointly with the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Orochi, their County Lines response.
The court heard how officers investigating a County Line by the name of ‘T’, which was facilitating the supply of heroin and crack cocaine in Portsmouth, identified Thompson as the main line holder after analysing mobile phone data.
On Wednesday 15 December 2021, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) data revealed that a vehicle containing Thompson was being driven from London towards Portsmouth. Officers stopped it as it entered the city and the two occupants, including Thompson, were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Five phones were found in the vehicle, one of which contained the SIM card that officers had earlier identified as the ‘T’ line SIM card. Officers also discovered 126 individual wraps of cocaine, later valued between £2,560 and £3,200 and two small packages containing cannabis.
A subsequent search of Thompson’s home address revealed a large quantity of cash, drug paraphernalia and plastic bags containing razor blades.
Thompson was charged and pleaded guilty to all offences.
PC Sian Medlow of the Eastern Proactive Investigations team said: “We are pleased with this sentence and hope that it sends out a strong message to drug dealers that if they try to set up a network in Portsmouth, we will find them and they will be jailed.
“Disrupting County Lines drug dealing and preventing the exploitation of vulnerable people is a priority for us and we will continue to keep up the pressure on those known locally to use as being involved in this kind of activity.
“Where there are drugs, there is almost always violence which is why tackling and disrupting the supply of drugs, especially through County Lines, is a vital part of our work to reduce violent crime and keep people safe.
“Working alongside our partners, we are committed to bringing criminals to justice and supporting people who are exploited by criminals.”
DCI Ant Jones from the Metroplitan Police's Specialist Crime Command said: "This is another fantastic result, which demonstrates the skill and determination of Op Orochi officers to identify active County Lines exported from London and arrest those responsible.
"The MPS continues to work with our partners across the country to ensure all suspects for this drug trafficking are charged and convicted. This is now a criminal enterprise of high risk and low reward - if you are involved in county line drug supply you can expect a visit from Op Orochi soon."
Spotting the signs
We encourage our communities to spot the signs that someone might be involved in drugs supply, and to report any suspicious activity to us via 101, the Hampshire Constabulary website or Crimestoppers where reports can be made 100% anonymously.
Some of the things to look out for and consider include:
Do you know someone who is always going missing from school or their home?
Are they travelling alone to places far away from home?
Do they suddenly have lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
Are they receiving much more calls or texts than usual?
Are they carrying or selling drugs?
Are they carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons?
Are they in a relationship with or hanging out with someone/people that are older and controlling?
Do they have unexplained injuries?
Do they seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide?
Do they seem scared?
Are they self-harming?
Cuckooing is when drug gangs take over the home of a vulnerable person through violence and intimidation, using it as their base for selling/manufacturing drugs.
Signs of cuckooing include:
An increase in people coming and going
An increase in cars or bikes outside
Signs of drugs use
You haven’t seen the person who lives there recently or when you have, they have been anxious or distracted.
If you suspect drug related activity in your area, please get in touch. All information could help us catch and convict those who deal drugs to our communities and even the smallest pieces of information can help us develop a stronger intelligence picture.