Seven people have been jailed for a total of 42 years following an investigation into the supply of class A drugs in Swindon.
The covert investigation, which was carried out by the Specialist Crime Department, centred on the Dangerous Drug Network called ‘Pappy’ led by Dwaight Omar Lobban.
Lobban, age 38, of Finchley Road, Birmingham, used three women to hire 14 vehicles for him totalling a spend of over £6,700, as well as an estimated £8,000 on fuel.
Lobban made over 200 trips to Swindon from his addresses in Birmingham and London in a 12 month period between 2015-16, either on his own or with his girlfriend Janaie Hines, 23, of Sten Close, Enfield. Enquiries carried out by the team showed that 80 of these trips lasted less than an hour. Whilst in the town, he would meet with drug users in isolated areas for a matter of minutes.
During this time, Lobban worked alongside Marlon Dennis, 39 of Littlehall Road, Birmingham, and Martin Lockey, age 37, of Lime Kiln Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, supplying drugs to Swindon based drugs dealers Terrence Bonner, age 42 (address unknown), Kenneth Brown, age 39 of Raleigh Avenue, Swindon, and Mark Few, aged 45, of Victoria Road, Devizes – both were arrested in possession of drugs after meeting with Lobban.
All seven were sentenced at Swindon Crown Court on Friday as follows:
Lobban – 14 years imprisonment
Dennis – 9-and-a-half years imprisonment
Hines – 3-and-a-half years imprisonment
Lockey – 3-and-a-half years imprisonment
Few – 3-and-a-half years imprisonment
Brown – 3-and-a-half years imprisonment
Bonner (currently still outstanding) – 3-and-a-half years imprisonment
Detective Inspector Mark Wilkinson said: “Lobban controlled this Dangerous Drug Network, but he acted differently to most other drug dealers by basing himself outside of Swindon and never staying in the town overnight. He did however maintain a local point of contact in Swindon. This contact would change regularly, and contact would stop abruptly, often when that person were arrested.
“Phone analysis played a key part in our investigation. Lobban maintained ‘clean’ phones which were registered to him and paid for on a contract, to contact friends and family. He also had ‘dirty’ phones, which were used to contact Swindon drug dealers and users. Our analysis showed that these dirty phones always moved with the clean phones, which all moved with the vehicles hired by the three women.
“Lobban used half a dozen different local runners, all of whom were opiate users and vulnerable people.
“This was a really successful investigation by the Specialist Crime Department led by Detective Constable Neil Hilton and has led to some significant custodial sentences.
“I hope that this result acts as a deterrent to anyone considering getting involved in county lines drug gangs, you will be disrupted by our teams and you will be put before the courts, regardless of how significant your role is in the chain.”
All this week, as part of our summer-long Beyond the Beat campaign highlighting the hidden demands on modern day policing, we are raising awareness of county lines.
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons. gangs based in cities like London are targeting the most vulnerable people in small towns across the country to sell class A drugs on their behalf.