Man controlling drug line into Great Yarmouth is convicted
A man who was responsible for running a drugs line which was operating from London into Great Yarmouth has been convicted at Norwich Crown Court today (Monday 18 March).
William Donkoh, aged 36 and from Hackney was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a six-week trial.
Donkoh was in control of the ‘Deano’ drugs line, which was supplying and distributing heroin and crack cocaine in the Great Yarmouth area. The investigation focussed on evidence gathered from May 2017 until his arrest in June 2018, although it’s believed the line had been active since 2013.
Three other people who helped Donkoh run the county line operation have also been convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. They are:
- Sebastian Arenas-Valencia, aged 20 and from Hackney
- Tatjana Reinis, aged 40 and of Rodney Road in Great Yarmouth
- Irina Rasimovic, aged 31 and of no fixed address
Meanwhile five people pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to the same offences. They are:
- Lisa Vincent, aged 40 and of no fixed address in Great Yarmouth
- Debbie Thain, aged 34 and from Orford Close in Great Yarmouth
- Samantha Williams, aged 38 and of York Road in Great Yarmouth
- Jodie Burt, aged 33 and of Coronation Terrace in Great Yarmouth
- Glonar Thomas, aged 19 and from London
The court heard how Norfolk Constabulary’s Tactical Team lead an investigation which identified Donkoh as having control of a lucrative drugs line operating in Great Yarmouth under the name of ‘Deano’.
Officers discovered Donkoh was running the line with a single mobile phone number from where he lived in East London, acting as a ‘call centre’ for his network of drug runners in Great Yarmouth.
Call data later seized by officers revealed that text messages would be sent out daily from the dealer number to advise all customers they were ‘on’ or ‘about with best of both’ which meant they were up and running for orders. This would refer to heroin and crack cocaine being offered for sale in the Great Yarmouth area.
Once the drug users had placed their orders, managers Valencia or Thomas, already in Great Yarmouth sent by Donkoh, would supply and control the local drug runners. Donkoh would contact the managers, who would then in turn direct the local runners where they would be working that day. The managers roles were to also ensure the drugs were not stolen and any cash coming in was not lost before taking it back to London.
It’s estimated that 45,000 text messages were sent by the line between May 2017 and June 2018.
On Wednesday 25 October 2017, officers from the Tactical Team executed warrants at Priory Plain, Wellesley Road and Orford Close where mobile phones, Class A drugs and other drug paraphernalia were seized.
Thomas, Valencia, Rasimovic, Reinis, Burt and Thain were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs.
Williams and Vincent were arrested at later dates.
Officers continued the investigation and on Tuesday 26 June 2018, with the support of the Metropolitan Police, William Donkoh was arrested in Hackney. The mobile phone which was used to control the ‘Deano’ line was seized along with cash.
Detective Constable Carl Carter who led the investigation under Operation Gravity said: "This case is a prime example of how a county line operates and by securing these convictions we have stopped a dealer group who played a significant role in Class A drugs supply in Great Yarmouth for five years.
"After making arrests in the local area, further enquiries were carried out, which led officers to London to recover the mobile phone being used to control the line and arrested its controller William Donkoh.
"This isn’t just about drug supply. These groups do exploit vulnerable people who then become criminalised and by targeting those in control of these lines we can help prevent this from happening in the future."
Donkoh and the eight others involved in the conspiracy will be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Friday 12 April 2019.