The groups circulated ‘hotline’ phone numbers to local addicts in and around the Guildford, Woking and Camberley areas of Surrey and then took orders for heroin and other Class A drugs.
Starting in April this year, three clandestine officers, going under the cover-names Jade, Dave and Phil, infiltrated the networks, setting up drug deals that later led to 31 suspects being charged with drugs-related offences.
At Guildford Crown Court on Friday (December 11), some of the 23 defendants who subsequently pleaded guilty received hefty prison terms for their actions, although Judge Christopher Critchlow said it was ‘a pity’ those higher up the supply network were had not yet been brought to book.
Prosecuting barrister Susannah Bramley described the operation: “Eight of the networks were run from London and two seemed to be local. London would send people down to coopt local dealers.
"In come cases the homes of these addicts were taken over as bases.”
Miss Bramley said the networks controlled from the capital were known as ‘Killer’, ‘Tyson’, ‘OJ’, ‘OP’, ‘Jack’, ‘LV’, ‘K’ and ‘J’, while two local groups were referred to as ‘Andy’ and ‘Charlie’.
'Running his own network'
One of those jailed during Friday’s lengthy hearing was 28-year-old Dwayne Miller, of Warwick Road near Earl’s Court, who pleaded guilty to six counts of supplying a controlled drug.
Miss Bramely said the defendant had played a ‘significant role’ in the Killer network, which operated in the Woking area.
He was snared by the officer known as Jade, who obtained the network’s ‘hotline’ number from an addict and then got in touch with Miller.
Still images were taken of him on a number of occasions as he supplied the officer with drugs.
Miss Bramley said Miller was ‘in effect running his own network’.
“He had unlimited access to drugs and the use of a driver.”
Defence lawyer Lance Whiteford said his client was in debt to his own drug dealer and that his family had been threatened, adding that he was a family man with a young child and another expected soon.
“His wife is devastated about this,” said Mr Whiteford.
Sentencing the defendant, Judge Critchlow said: “You came down from London and you dealt drugs in this county.
“You were the subject of a large-scale police operation because of the scale of this drug dealing.”
He sentenced Miller to two years and 10 months in prison, of which he must serve at least half.
'Trapped in a cycle of intimidation'
Twenty-year-old Ivan Vilarinho, of Mackenzie Close in White City Estate, London, was also jailed, having pleaded guilty to 17 counts of supplying controlled drugs and one of possession of criminal property.
Originally from Portugal, the defendant was rumbled by undercover officer Phil, who ordered a number of wraps of heroin from him, on one occasion giving his bike in payment to the Vilarinho after he said he liked it.
His defence barrister said her client, who suffers from depression, had been ‘trapped in a cycle of intimidation from those above’.
He was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, of which he must serve at least half.
Abdiaziz Elmi, of no fixed abode, was jailed for five years and eight months for his ‘significant role’ in the Camberley-based OP network.
The 46-year-old fell foul of the ‘three strikes’ rule, having been previously sentenced for drugs offences in 2002 and 2008.
A number of the other defendants were handed suspended prison sentences, and Judge Critchlow will continue the hearings on Monday (December 14).