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County Lines drug dealer jailed for eight years for being concerned in supply of Class A drugs in Ipswich

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A drug dealer has been jailed after being found guilty of County Lines drug offences in Ipswich.

Ronnie Downes, 21, was arrested in August last year on suspicion of being concerned in supplying controlled drugs in a joint operation with Metropolitan police officers in London.

He was taken to Martlesham Heath Police Investigation Centre in Suffolk for questioning and was subsequently charged by the Serious Crime Disruption Team (SCDT) for two counts of being concerned in supplying controlled drugs - diamorphine and crack cocaine - between December 1, 2019 and July, 27, 2020.

Ronnie Downes. Picture: Suffolk Police (44895904)
Ronnie Downes. Picture: Suffolk Police (44895904)

Downes, of Winterbourne Road in Dagenham, was convicted of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs after a five-day trial in January this year.

He was jailed for eight years at Ipswich Crown Court today.

Downes' arrest was part of Operation Orochi, led by the Metropolitan Police, which has been active in Suffolk since February 2020 and focuses on tackling drugs supply offences and County Lines by arresting the line controller, rather than the person transporting the drugs.

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture by Mark Westley
Ipswich Crown Court. Picture by Mark Westley

Officers from the Suffolk team share intelligence with a dedicated team at the Met, who then investigate in order to identify the line controller and their location.

The SCDT aims to disrupt serious and organised gangs whose criminal activity focuses on issues such as drug supply and harmful personal acquisitive crime such as robbery and buglary.

The team develop the relevant information and intelligence, conduct enforcement activity and then provide an officer who will build the case and see the investigation through to trial.

Det Con Dave Murphy from the SCDT said it was 'another great result to get the scourge of drugs off our streets'.

"Ronnie Downes was an operator who has links to drug gangs and is an individual who was determined to sell on the streets of Ipswich bringing misery to residents and vulnerable people," he said.

"This is the kind of activity we are targeting and we will continue to take robust action against those who deal drugs around the county.

"I am pleased with today’s sentence and it should be a warning to those dealing that we will not tolerate it.

"We will continue to listen to concerns of residents and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to tackle Class A drug dealing in the county and also wider afield where drug gangs have links to London and other urban areas.”

Det Chf Insp Ben Clark, who oversees the Op Orochi operation for Suffolk, said it was 'powerful demonstration' of the way the force tackles criminality to keep communities safe.

And Det Insp Nick, Harvey from the Met’s Operation Orochi team, added: "We have been working with Suffolk Constabulary for just over a year now and this joint-policing approach has helped put a number of people in jail for County Lines offences and disrupted a number of drugs supply routes out from London.

"We will continue to support Suffolk Constabulary in our efforts to dismantle County Lines routes – a crime type that so often leaves a trail of violence and misery.”

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