'Director' of drug gang which flooded Yarmouth with crack and heroin 'guided conspiracy' from Hackney, court hears
PUBLISHED: 15:57 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 07 February 2019
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The ‘director’ of a drug gang which flooded Great Yarmouth with cocaine and heroin was ‘guiding the conspiracy’ with 116 texts and 56 phone calls a day from his base in Hackney, a court heard.
William Donkoh, 39, is accused of running one of the main county line drug operations into the town, using a network of “enforcers” and “minions”.
Norwich Crown Court heard how known drug addicts in Yarmouth had been recruited to sell the drugs and buy top-up credit for the main phone line - known as ‘Deano’ - back in London.
Donkoh, who stands trial with five co-accused in the conspiracy, is alleged to have travelled to Norfolk just four times, in June 2017 and February 2018.
Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, told the court how a silver Toyota Prius was traced via ANPR cameras travelling along the A11 and around Norwich on February 8 last year, heading eastbound along the A47.
The ‘Deano’ line phone number was pinging on phone masts along the route at the same time.
Mr O’Donnell said four days later Donkoh was seen getting into the same car outside his Hackney home.
“The evidence is conclusive - that number was guiding the conspiracy to supply crack and heroin in Great Yarmouth,” he told the court.
“The hand that held that number was William Donkoh.”
Donkoh was captured on CCTV buying phone credit in London on one occasion, and seconds later bulk text messages advertising drugs were being sent to Yarmouth drug addicts.
“Who is ‘Deano?’,” Mr O’Donnell asked the jury. “40 seconds before one bulk text message was sent out, it was Mr Donkoh.”
The court heard how the drug conspiracy ‘minions’ operated, with video footage of hand-to-hand exchanges around Yarmouth played to the jury.
Mr O’Donnell said Tatjana Reinis, Irina Rasimovic and Ian Starkings were all ‘runners’ in the operation, and known drug users.
Mr O’Donnell said Sebastian Arenas-Valencia was involved in “management and enforcement” and he was sent to stay in Great Yarmouth.
He said Glonar Thomas was another manager who was involved in providing drugs to the runners to sell in Great Yarmouth.
“It is clear that not only did Mr Donkoh need to alert his customers to the availability of heroin and crack, but also make arrangements to give instructions to those who were running the drugs on his behalf,” he told the jury.
Runners were observed buying mobile phone top up receipts from shops in Great Yarmouth, and minutes later the Donkoh phone in London would be credited, Mr O’Donnell said.
He told the court the runners would be “paid in cash or drugs” for buying the top ups, and they were “enabling the Deano line to continue its business”.
The conspiracy revolved around properties on Southtown Road and Priory Plain, which was being used “throughout the conspiracy”.
“It was October 25, 2017 when police sought to close down the Great Yarmouth end of this operation and sought to make arrests simultaneously,” said Mr O’Donnell.
“Mr Thomas and Mr Arenas-Valencia were arrested as they passed through Great Yarmouth Market Place.
“Ms Rasimovic was arrested in an alley behind her home on Priory Plain, and Ms Reinis was found hiding in darkness in the bathroom of Ms Rasimovic’s flat.”
Phones were seized from each of the defendants. In a notebook in the kitchen in Priory Plain, a tally of ‘dark’ and ‘white’ sales was found, relating to heroin and crack, the court was told.
Keys and a rental agreement were also found to a property on Wellesley Road, where a number of rucksacks were found.
The drugs were stored behind a cooker, Mr O’Donnell told the court.
170 packages of crack cocaine were found of 80-81pc purity, and Thomas’ DNA profile was found on some.
286 wraps of heroin was discovered, with purity of between 33 and 36pc. In total it was estimated to be worth more than £4,500.
Mr O’Donnell said on the day of the arrests there was “a degree of consternation in London”, as the Deano line attempted to contact each of those arrested.
“They were clearly trying to find out what had happened to their organisation,” said Mr O’Donnell.
When Donkoh was arrested, on June 26 last year outside his home in Hackney, police recovered a Nokia handset which had been the “last handset to use the Deano line phone number”.
More than 45,000 messages had been sent from the number. In October 2017, at the height of the operation, it sent 3,695 texts and 1,747 calls.
“The inescapable conclusion is that it was William Donkoh directing his lieutenants Sebastian Arenas-Valencia and Glonar Thomas, controlling the men and women dealing on their behalf - their minions Tatjana Reinis, Irina Rasimovic and Ian Starkings,” said Mr O’Donnell
Donkoh, of Brooksby’s Walk, Hackney, Reinis, 40, of Rodney Road, Great Yarmouth, Starkings, 38, of Pottergate, Norwich, Thomas, 19, from London, Rasimovic, 31, of no fixed address and Arenas-Valencia, 20, from Wick Road, Hackney, have all denied two counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug in Great Yarmouth between May 1, 2017 and June 27, 2018.
The trial continues.