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County lines drug dealer ran crack cocaine business in Gravesend and had gun and bullets in suit

Police smashed a "significant" drugs line after raiding the home of one of the gang leaders and finding bullets in his suit pocket.

Melvin Gambanga was caught flushing £5,000 worth of crack cocaine down the toilet as officers arrived at his Gravesend headquarters, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

The moment police raid Gambanga's flat in Gravesend. Video: Kent Police

The 23-year-old unemployed warehouseman also had a loaded pistol and ammunition stashed in a holdall, said prosecutor Mark Gadsden.

Gambanga, of Federation Road, Abbey Wood, has now been jailed for a total of eight years.

He admitted possessing class A drugs with intent; possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition and having £1,000 in cash - the proceeds of his drug deals.

Mr Gadsden said Gambanga was part of a county lines drugs gang known as 'G'.

County lines dealing refers to the practice of city-based gangs pushing narcotics - typically crack cocaine and heroin - in commuter towns.

"You were heavily involved in the marketing of Class A drugs."

"He was responsible for a significant amount of drugs being brought into Gravesend and other parts of the south east."

The prosecutor told how officers seized a number of phones from Gambanga's home which revealed he was marketing the drugs by sending out regular adverts.

One of them read: "We are back...back with the best".

The dealer - who has a previous drugs conviction from 2016 - had been peddling his illegal trade from October 2019 until his arrest in May this year.

Mr Gadsden added that the self-loading 9mm pistol was recovered from the flat containing four rounds with four more found in his suit, which was hanging in a wardrobe.

Max Reeves, defending, said Gambanga claimed the weapon had been given to him by someone "further up the chain of command" and he had never inspected or fired it.

Melvin Gambanga. Picture: Kent Police
Melvin Gambanga. Picture: Kent Police

Jailing him for five years on the weapon charges and another three years for the drugs offence, Judge Stephen Thomas told him: "You were heavily involved in the marketing of Class A drugs."

Det Con Mark Donovan, investigating officer for Kent Police, said: "Gambanga has demonstrated he is an individual who presents a clear threat to public safety.

"Not only does he see people suffering from drug abuse as a means to make money, his willingness to possess a loaded gun demonstrates he was willing to commit acts of serious violence.

A gun seized during the raid from Gambanga's house. Picture: Kent Police (38538939)
A gun seized during the raid from Gambanga's house. Picture: Kent Police (38538939)

"Despite being based outside of Kent, he was not able to escape capture after our enquiries revealed he had been actively involved in co-ordinating the supply of drugs to Gravesend.

"Each day we are gathering new information on the supply of class A drugs in our town and, as this case shows, we will not hesitate to come after drug dealers at their own homes to ensure they are brought to justice."

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