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‘Callous and calculated’ London drug dealer jailed for eight years after running county lines into Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 18 June 2018

John Abodunrin has been jailed for eight years for drug dealing in Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk Police

John Abodunrin has been jailed for eight years for drug dealing in Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk Police

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A “callous and calculated” London drug dealer who came to Norfolk after being stabbed in 2016 has been jailed for eight years after establishing a “substantial drug dealing enterprise” in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Norwich Bus Station. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Bus Station. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

For nine months John Abodunrin was orchestrating two county lines - named Mason and Jimmy Joe - and would send out bulk text messages to local drug users to advertise availability.

Police launched an undercover operation codenamed Nightjar in summer 2017, and finally swooped on Abodunrin as he arrived at Norwich bus station from London on March 22 of this year.

He was found with mobile phones, sim cards and 36 wraps of cocaine, of up to 80pc purity, Norwich Crown Court heard on Monday.

Across three mobile phones connected to the drug network, police sifted through almost 150,000 text messages to establish Abodunrin’s criminality.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, told the court the 25-year-old was “someone who co-ordinates the activities of others”.

“He receives the orders and dispatches people to service those orders,” he said.

“There is extensive use of the phones with high volume block text messages at a time being sent out to a client base.”

Between July 2017 and February 2018 58,000 calls and texts were found on the phone number servicing Great Yarmouth. On at least 96 occasions bulk text messages were sent to local drug users, and 1,262 separate phone numbers drawn from billing data.

Across two mobile phones used on the Norwich line between July 2017 and January 2018, a total of 85,000 calls and texts were identified.

1,326 separate phone numbers were identified and 12 of the top 20 belonged to known drug users.

At least 158 bulk text messages were sent out advertising the drug supply.

Judge Andrew Shaw, sentencing Abodunrin, said: “What these statistics do is allow me to conclude this was a substantial drug dealing enterprise in the city of Norwich and the town of Great Yarmouth. The role of local manager and enforcer is apt to be applied in your case.”

The court heard Abodunrin has two previous convictions relating to drug dealing, in 2011 and 2013.

Gavin Cowe, mitigating, said he had first become involved in drug dealing at the age of 18 “through youth and naïvety”, and had come to Norwich after being stabbed in 2016 over an unpaid debt.

“Were he at a very high level up the chain of command it would not be he who travelled on a number of occasions with the phone to London to collect the drugs or top up the phones,” he added.

“He had positive hopes for the future until those with whom he had previously been involved brought their attention to bear on him.”

But Judge Shaw refused to accept Abodunrin had been coerced back into drug dealing through an unpaid debt, calling him a “professional drug dealer” who ran a “very busy drug dealing enterprise”.

He added: “Controlled drugs ruin lives. They ruin the lives of those addicted to them. They ruin the lives of those who are the victims of crimes committed by drug addicts; people who are robbed on the streets, people whose homes are burgled by people committing acquisitive crime to get the next wrap.

“People who are addicted to controlled drugs find themselves often having to commit these offences just to buy the next day’s hit. Women prostitute themselves on the streets to raise money for drugs.

“You are a callous and calculated young man who has come from London to this county to deal controlled drugs for substantial profit to you and your criminal organisation.

“This is organised crime and this court will not tolerate it.

“Just as controlled drugs ruin the lives of those addicted to them and victims of crime, controlled drugs are going to ruin your life. If you are not careful you are going to fritter it away behind bars.”

Jailing Abodunrin, of Barnfield Gardens in Woolwich, for eight years for two counts of supplying Class A drugs, and one of possession with intent to supply, Judge Shaw told him: “The sentences will get longer and longer until you get the message.

“This is a pernicious product which causes misery.”

150,000 text messages

After sentencing, DI Tom Smith of the Norfolk Constabulary Tactical Unit said Abodunrin was a “career drug dealer”.

“Clearly this level of activity will attract a level of drug-related violence and local crime, having a detrimental effect on some of the most vulnerable people in society being exploited by these gangs,” he said.

“That is the reason they will be targeted and prosecuted.

“He was operating quite a sophisticated network for around nine months. Throughout the investigation he was identified as the leader of the operation.

“This sends out a clear message drug trafficking will not be tolerated.”

He added eight months of “extensive work” was done around communication data analysis to secure the conviction.

He said: “All of the networks have to survive on mobile phone communication and on these particular lines we identified nearly 150,000 relevant text messages.”

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