County lines drug dealers caught red-handed five days after release
By court reporter | 23rd June 2020
Two drug dealers arrested in a Gloucester house were still wearing the prison clothes they had been released in just five days earlier, a court heard yesterday (June 22).
Salman Mohamoud, 20, of Caversham Road, Camden, London, and Mohamed Osman, 21, of Old St, Islington, London, had been in custody in Bridgend, South Wales, accused of drug supply, and were released on June 28th 2019 wearing grey prison-issue tracksuits and plimsolls, Gloucester crown court was told.
By July 3rd 2019, they had 'cuckooed' the terraced home of several vulnerable drug addicts including a woman sex worker in Robinhood St, Gloucester, and were dealing in heroin and cocaine from the property they had invaded, the court was told.
Police raided the house that day and arrested Osman, Mohamoud and a third man all in the Bridgend prison clothing, said prosecutor Giles Nelson.
He said a packet of heroin and cocaine worth £150 was thrown out of an upstairs window of the house as police stormed in. It was recovered from the roof of a van parked outside and found to have Mohamoud's DNA on it. The package contained 12 street deal wraps of cocaine and three of heroin.
In the property police found a large combat knife and an equally large kitchen knife, Mr Nelson said.
A 'burner' phone the defendants had bought at Asda in Gloucester when they arrived in the city was found to contain messages from drugs customers. It had 46 customer numbers stored on it.
Mr Nelson said the facts showed that having been released in Bridgend, where they were under investigation for drug and violence offences, the men moved quickly to Gloucester, took over the Robinhood street house, 'and fairly rapidly began commercial dealing in Class A drugs.'
Omar Majid, for Mohamoud, said the defendants were under pressure from a drugs gang to continue dealing as soon as they were released in Bridgend and they were directed to go to Gloucester - a city they did not know and had no connection with.
The gang was based in Camden - Mohamoud's home area where his father runs a butcher's shop, said Mr Majid.
He had come under the influence of the gang while living in Camden and studying for a BTech in IT, he added.
Asked by Judge Ian Lawrie QC about the knives found in the house Mr Majid said he had to accept they were part of the drug dealing enterprise but there was no evidence they had been used against anyone. The defendants were strangers in the city and did not know what to expect there, he said.
Defending Osman, Leo Masters said his client was also being directed by others higher up the chain in the gang.
"He went where he was told, he did what he was told," he said.
The court heard that the third man arrested in the house has not been proceeded against by the Crown.
Judge Lawrie told the defendants "Both of you have got yourselves involved in this serious offence of County Lines drug supply but I recognise you are in essence the expendable cannon fodder of the drug supply process.
"There are people far further up the chain of command who were tugging the strings and using you as puppets to supply drugs at venues of their choosing."
Osman and Mohamoud both admitted possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply. Osman, who was of previous good character, was sentenced to two years imprisonment and Mohamoud, who had one previous conviction, received a sentence of two and a half years.
He urged them both not to fall under the influence of drug gangs in future.
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