Published: 16:45, 25 July 2017 |
Updated: 18:21, 25 July 2017
A ruthless organiser of a major drugs ring in the Medway towns who used violence and intimidation to get youngsters to work for him has been jailed for 15 years.
A judge said Martin Olujosun was the “controlling intelligence” in a sophisticated and highly profitable conspiracy.
The 25-year-old convicted drug dealer’s henchman Zahid Noor, 27, was jailed for 14 years.
Olujosun, of Slater Close, Woolwich, south east London, and Noor, of Plumstead Common Road, Woolwich, were sentenced on Friday with Asif Basir, 23, Billie Ashdown, 26, Leo Skerritt-Copeland, 23, and 18-year-old Joshua Buchanan-Buxton.
Bashir, of Rochester Way, Chatham, was sentenced to six years, Ashdown, of Glenwood Close, Chatham, to two years, Skerritt-Copeland, of Melville Court, Chatham, to 19 months and Buchanan-Buxton, of Wigmore Road, Gillingham, to 16 months youth custody.
Maidstone Crown Court heard in two trials how teenagers were forced onto the streets to deal Class A drugs.
If any of them refused they were threatened. One was put in the boot of a car and driven around to force him to cooperate.
Olujosun denied two charges of conspiracy to supply drugs, but was convicted. He also denied kidnapping and false imprisonment and was acquitted of those charges.
Bashir was convicted of those charges. He denied possessing cannabis with intent to supply, but was convicted.
Noor admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin between June and December 2015. He was acquitted of damaging property, a mobile phone belonging to one of the victims.
Ashdown and Buchanan-Buxton admitted conspiracy to supply drugs. Skerritt-Copeland, who is serving three years and four months for violence, admitted intimidation.
Prosecutor Anthony Prosser described Olujosun and Noor as “controlling influences within this drug supply chain, coercing young men to deal drugs for them and organising and supervising dealers”.
They would hold stocks of drugs and re-supply dealers when they sold out.
The drugs ring was exposed in July 2015 when police officers searched a teenager in Gordon Road, Chatham.
He declared: “There is an Asian male who isn’t from this area who is threatening me to deal drugs. If I don’t deal drugs he will hurt me and my family.”
Asked if there were any drugs in his home, he produced 56 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine and cash. Eleven more wraps were under clothing on the floor.
He was taken to the police station and while there his mobile phone kept ringing. The packaging was analysed and Noor’s DNA was found on it.
The teenager agreed to make a statement detailing how he became involved.
He told of being in the Pentagon Centre in Chatham when he was asked by a man calling himself Alex, said to be Noor, if he wanted to make some money.
Noor, also known as Sarj, told him the work was legitimate and said he just wanted a package delivered.
He called the teenager that evening and told him to meet him at the Black Path in Magpie Hall Road the next day. He did so and was given a package.
He replied if it was drugs he did not want to do it, but was told it was too late to back out.
Passing sentence, Judge Adele Williams said: “This was a highly organised, sophisticated conspiracy to supply drugs in the Medway towns.
“Class A drugs cause misery and havoc in people’s lives. I have no doubt huge profits have been made.”
Olujosun, she said, was convicted on the most clearest and compelling evidence of playing a leading role.
Noor joined the conspiracy after being released from prison for a previous drugs offence in May 2015.
“Adverts” sent out promised “rocket fuel” and “banging white”. Ashdown, who has suffered “gruesome” effects from injecting drugs, stored heroin and cocaine at her home and cut them up for supply.
Olujosun and Noor travelled back and forth from London to run the drugs line.
“You mercilessly exploited teenage boys to sell drugs,” the judge told them. “You threatened them and accused them of losing drugs so that they would work for free.”
One teenager showed considerable courage and strength to give evidence against them at two trials.
Bashir set up a conference call when Noor was in jail so that he could threaten and intimidate the teenager. Judge Williams said the recorded call was “chilling in its menace”.
He was told if he could get to him away from CCTV cameras, he would kill him.
“You were ruthless in your pursuit of profit and cared nothing about others,” the judge told Olujosun and Noor. “You have a total disregard for the law. Both of you consider yourselves to be above the law.”
They had also exploited Ashdown and Buchanan-Buxton.
Judge Williams commended detectives for their “exemplary inquiry and enormous hard work, executed in a painstaking and thorough way”.
Det Sgt Richard Spicer of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "This was an organised criminal network organising the supply of drugs from London to users throughout the Medway Towns.
"The sentences send out a strong message that those who seek to come to Kent and deal drugs will be tracked down and brought to justice.
"I would like to commend the witnesses in this case who had the courage to assist investigators throughout the court process."
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