Birmingham drugs gang busted after flooding town with heroin and crack cocaine


A drugs gang flooded a Midlands town with class A drugs after heading there in taxis.

The County Lines operation was busted by police after the gang flooded Derbyshire with heroin and crack cocaine.

Asha Henry played a leading role, and recruited people, including Nathan Meade, to sell the drugs, Derby Crown Court heard.

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Mass marketing messages were also sent out to between 70 and 110 different users concerning the sale of the drugs, reports DerbyshireLive.

Orders would be placed and deliveries would be made, including over a short period by a third man, James Lauro.

Henry passed on drugs to Meade, who lived in Swadlincote before being put on remand last year, to sell and he would also collect takings – coming from Birmingham on occasions in taxis.

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At the end of June, Judge Shaun Smith QC jailed Henry for five years and seven months, and also handed Meade a 32 month custodial sentence.

But as Meade has served more than 16 months on remand he was released the same day.

Judge Smith said: “This involved the supply of class A drugs into Swadlincote including heroin and crack cocaine.

“I accept it was county lines and an element of cuckooing.

“The line was in existence between June and October [2018] and was lucrative.

“There were mass marketing messages, orders were placed and deliveries would be made.

“Henry, you have no relevant antecedents. You recruited people to put them in place. When you ran out of employees you did it yourself.

“You remained involved until your arrest. I have heard you regret your offending. You have been waiting 18 months in custody to be sentenced. You have been doing well in prison.”

Addressing 20-year-old Meade, Judge Smith said: “You are a different proposition.

“There is an element of cuckooing. You did organise the sale of drugs.

“You have been in prison waiting to be sentenced. I expect you will be immediately released.”

The court heard how the operation ran during the summer of 2018.

Sarah Slater, prosecuting, told the court Henry would come to Swadlincote from Birmingham in a taxi or sometimes being driven by Lauro.

She said he would collect takings and to reload the drugs from a property where a known drug user lived in the town centre.

Miss Slater said Henry also recruited people to sell the drugs in Swadlincote and that when that property was raided by the police more than 100 wraps of either heroin or crack cociane were recovered along with mobile phones and a knife.

She said: “Lauro’s role was as a courier, he was the person who would collect Asha Henry but we accept he was only involved for a short period of time.”

Meade was arrested by police and was found to be in possession of a number of wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

Rob Cowley, mitigating for Henry, 24, of McGregor Close, Birmingham, said: “I concede the defendant has a leading role, it would be futile to do otherwise.

“He was 22 at the time.

“He has not been able to have contact with his two children as he otherwise would have.

“He regrets his offending, he told me ‘I’m done’.

“He has support from his family and says when he is released he is going to start behaving like a father.”

Steven Ramsell, for Meade, said he should get credit for his plea.

He said: “He was 18 at the time and very impressionable. He has taken the opportunity to better himself.

“He is now 20 years of age and wants to get on with his life.”

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Lauro, of Moira Road, Donisthorpe, Swadlincote, was handed a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work.

Mark Nicholls, mitigating, said: “He is full-time carer for his mother who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and his elderly father is in self-isolation.”

A fourth defendant, Ashley Miller, 31, of Oversetts Road, Newhall, was handed a two-year jail term, suspended for 18 months.

Police observed him dealing in Swadlincote on August 7, 2018, arrested him, and wraps of crack cociane and heroin were found in a children’s bedroom in his property.

And the final gang member Shuaib Gedi, 22, originally from Birmingham, was moved to live in the home of a known drug user in Midland Road, Swadlincote, and used it as a base to sell from.

On August 14, 2018, he was confronted in a park in Swadlincote, ran from officers and threw a bag into a hedge.

That was recovered and found to contain wraps of both class A drugs.

He was jailed for two years, suspended for 18 months.

All of the defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

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