Published: 18:47, 19 October 2020
| Updated: 19:05, 19 October 2020
A county lines drug dealer scarpered when officers tried to arrest him and threw his mobile phone into the river, in an attempt to destroy evidence.
Leandro Da Silva, 19, disposed of the ‘burner’ style phone as he was pursued in Maidstone by officers from the county line and gang team.
He had initially been seen acting suspiciously by plain clothed officers on patrol in February, near St Peter's Street.
Da Silva, of Kennet Walk, Reading, was joined by a woman and they walked to his vehicle in a nearby car park. Officers identified themselves to carry out a search for drugs and during an attempt to arrest Da Silva he ran from the scene and threw his phone into the river.
He was eventually detained and found in possession of £650. The car was searched, leading to the seizure of 17 wraps of heroin and 23 wraps of cocaine.
Athough the phone was never recovered, an investigation was able to show Da Silva had been sending text messages from a device to Maidstone users, to market and sell Class A drugs.
Detectives also proved the same drugs supply line had been dormant from when the phone had been thrown into the river.
He was charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and being concerned in the supply of heroin.
He pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and last Wednesday when he was sentenced to two years and four months' detention at a young offenders’ institution.
DCI Matt Talboys of the County Line and Gang Team said: "Da Silva sought to avoid a conviction by running from officers and disposing of his phone in the river.
"However, a thorough and painstaking investigation has shown him to be a prolific dealer, preying on some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
"Our message remains clear; travel into Kent to supply drugs and we will track you down and ensure you are swiftly brought to justice."